McLaren has confirmed that it wants to keep its current lineup for the 2018 season. There has major doubt over the future of Fernando Alonso, who is deeply unhappy with the uncompetitiveness of the team. Alonso re-joined the squad in 2015, when it restarted its partnership with Honda.
However, the deal has left McLaren lingering at the bottom of the constructor standings. With Alonso vowing to race in a competitive seat for 2018 McLaren recently stated that it was doing everything possible to keep the double world champion at the team next year.
Stoffel Vandoorne is competing in his first full season of F1 but has struggled to match the pace of his teammate. McLaren junior Lando Norris answered rumours which placed him in contention for a 2018 seat: "I think McLaren is trying to keep the current lineup," he said.
Vandoorne pinned his lack of pace down to the fact that the engine was so unreliable, he didn't get the chance to learn the car and see what its limits were. In recent weeks, Honda appear to have taken a step forward which has led to the Belgian feeling much more comfortable in the car.
"The biggest problem was that we had so many technical problems that I hardly drove. It took me some time to understand what I had to do with this car to drive it really fast," Vandoorne said. "Now I feel more comfortable so I'm closer to Fernando in pace, and I need to continue like that."
Executive director Zak Brown confirmed that the team is happy with its line up: "Yes, we are happy with Stoffel. He is in a difficult situation next to Fernando and with the reliability problems we've had, but we think Stoffel is a future world champion. We want to go with the same drivers next year."