Vandoorne axe within 2018 ‘unlikely’ – Brown

Jul.30 (GMM) The driver ‘silly season’ is racing on.

In Hungary, rumours continued to gain strength that Carlos Sainz will be ousted by Renault, and replaced for 2019 by Esteban Ocon.

Boss Cyril Abiteboul says a decision will be announced “after the break”.

“We have not signed anything or committed ourselves to anyone,” he told Movistar.

“We have good options and one of them is that Carlos stays with us.”

If Sainz is ousted, the Spaniard’s best option seems to be McLaren.

The British team may in fact have two available cockpits for 2019, with Fernando Alonso eyeing Indycar and Stoffel Vandoorne notably struggling.

In fact, one rumour is that Vandoorne could be ousted even before his home race in Belgium next month, and replaced by Lando Norris from Spa.

Asked if that is possible, McLaren boss Zak Brown told Het Laatste Nieuws: “Highly unlikely.”

But he didn’t deny that Sainz is on the shortlist for 2019.

“The reality is that we have two seats and it’s our job to put the best possible drivers in them. I’ve already said that Carlos is a great racing driver,” said Brown.

He also backed Vandoorne, who has struggled to perform alongside Alonso.

“We would like to see him beat his teammate. But all the drivers Fernando has competed against have been beaten by him. So there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

“I would not say we are disappointed with Stoffel because we know that we are in a very difficult situation and this year we do not have a good car,” Brown said.

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