Its been announced this week that Belgian Mclaren development driver Stoffel Vandoorne will return to the GP2 series in 2015 again driving for the ART team. Vandoorne is hoping a successful championship year with ART will be the pathway for him to get into F1 for 2016, preferably with Mclaren, but is that actually really likely to happen? Vandoorne’s potential is not in any doubt. He won the F4 Eurocup title in 2010 and then had a close tussle with Dani Kvyat in Eurocup 2.0 in 2012, a tussle he eventually won and took the title. In 2013 he jumped up to the WSR 3.5 series and scored a win on his debut. He scored 4 wins in total with 10 podiums in 17 races, all this in the much unfancied Fortec car as well. He was piped to the title by fellow Mclaren development driver Kevin Magnussen who had already done a year in the series and was driving the all mighty DAMS car. K-Mag landed himself an F1 seat with Mclaren and Vandoorne switched feeder series to join ART in GP2. Once again Vandoorne scored a win on his debut before suffering the same fate the majority of rookies do when joining GP2 and falling backwards whilst getting used to the difficult Pirelli tyres. To be fair to Vandoorne this only lasted for a few rounds and by the time he got to round 7 in Austria he was back up there with the front runners. Unfortunately for him Jolyon Palmer, again in a mighty DAMS car, was already out of sight but he did manage to haul back to 2nd in the championship with a further 3 wins and 5 podiums. He was cost better results by some questionable tactical decision by ART on occasions too, especially when the failed to pit him under the safety car when the entire rest of the field did leaving him in an almost impossible position. Anyone who saw his comeback drive that day can’t have failed to be impressed. Vandoorne will most likely go into the GP2 2015 season as favourite for the title, even if he does have some stiff competition in Gasly and Lynn (DAMS again!), but will even a dominant season in this series guarantee him a seat in F1? In these times of financial trouble pure talent does not now make it a certainty that an F1 seat will become available. Vandoorne is currently backed by Mclaren but with a lack of so-called feeder teams where would they put him? They already have K-Mag on their books who has been dropped from race seat to 3rd driver for 2015 and they have another talented youngster in Nick de Vries queuing up right behind Vandoorne. With Alonso and Button locked into the F1 seats and Vandoorne not even being next in line is the Mclaren root even a valid one for him to get into F1? On the other hand if he breaks away from Mclaren he has no funding so would a seat become available to him at all then either. Rumour has it that back in 2013 Vandoorne was approached by Helemt Marko and offered the Toro Rosso seat for 2014. Vandoorne decided he wasn’t ready and that he would stick with Mclaren. That seat then went to his old rival in Eurocup Kvyat who now in 2015 will be driving for the Red Bull A team. Whilst at the time I thought Vandoorne had made a wise decision with hindsight it looks like he may have missed out. Can F1 afford to miss out on talent like Vandoorne? Are you confident we’ll see him in F1 one day? Have you been impressed by him or do you think he is just all hype? I would be interested to hear your thoughts.