Aston’s reserve driver, Vandoorne, will split driving responsibilities with the team’s regular driver, Lance Stroll. Similarly, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri will each have a day to drive.
It will be the Belgian’s first on-track outing in a current F1 car since he drove for Mercedes in the Abu Dhabi test in December 2020.
The primary emphasis of the Spa test is on Pirelli’s tires without tire warmers. However, it will provide Vandoorne with a valuable chance to experience the 2023 car, which will assist him in correlating his simulator efforts for Aston Martin.
If either Stroll or Fernando Alonso is unable to participate for any reason during the rest of the season, it will greatly simplify his life if he is asked to step in.
The 31-year-old and reigning F2 champion Felipe Drugovich share the reserve role at Aston, alternating attending races on standby.
Drugovich had the opportunity to try out the AMR23 during the Bahrain test in February for a duration of two days, as Stroll was unavailable. Following that, the Brazilian driver has been accumulating additional mileage through private testing in a car from 2021.
In addition to his responsibilities at Aston, Vandoorne serves as a reserve driver for McLaren. His performance at Spa would facilitate his transition into the MCL60 if needed.
Stoffel Vandoorne, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin F1 Team
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
As well as giving him a general feel for 2023 downforce levels, the two cars share the Mercedes power unit and thus have similar settings on their respective steering wheels.
In 2016, Vandoorne had his first F1 race experience with McLaren in Bahrain, substituting for his current teammate at Aston, Alonso.
In 2017 and 2018, he participated in two complete seasons. In the first season, he used Honda power, while in the second season, he switched to Renault. He achieved 16th place in the world championship standings for both seasons, with his highest achievement being a seventh-place finish.
McLaren released him at the conclusion of 2018, but he later revitalized his professional path in Formula E. He achieved victory in the 2021-22 championship representing Mercedes, where he also held the position of F1 reserve driver.
He currently drives for the DS Penske Formula E team, and is also a reserve for the Peugeot WEC outfit.