MONTMELO, SPAIN - MARCH 10: (EDITORS NOTE: Image was altered with digital filters.) Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium and McLaren Honda poses for a portrait during the final day of Formula One winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on March 10, 2017 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

It’s no secret that McLaren-Honda has had a more difficult two weeks of testing than they had anticipated, with several engine issues throughout the eighth days on the Barcelona Circuit in Spain. However, they have since been working closely to address the issues they faced in time for the first race of the season this coming weekend.

Not only is this weekend the first race of a new era, it is also the first race for Stoffel Vandoorne as a fully-fledged Formula One driver. It isn’t his first race, in fact his first, and only Formula One race was in Bahrain, twelve months ago when he stood in for the injured Fernando Alonso.

Now, with the race just a few days away, he is eager to get going and start his first full season in the pinnacle of Motorsports…

“Since my position as full-time racing driver for McLaren-Honda was confirmed back in September, it feels like the Australian Grand Prix weekend has been a long time coming. It’s a great feeling knowing that I’m about to start my full first season in Formula 1 and it’s a dream I’ve been working towards for my entire racing career,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to stepping into the MCL32 cockpit on Friday morning and I feel totally ready for the challenge ahead. I’ve prepared very well over the winter, worked a lot on my training and in particular my strength and endurance, and I’m incredibly motivated to work hard with the team to make improvements step by step. I’ll be pushing hard as always and I’m looking forward to getting back into the car. “

“In terms of performance, I’m not setting myself any particular targets, other than to keep my head down, learn a lot from the team and from Fernando, and do my best. I know the guys and girls at McLaren and Honda very well, and I feel very much part of the family, so there’s no sense of nervousness about starting my first full season as a Formula 1 driver. It’s my first time in Australia so I’ll be soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the buzz of the first race of the season, and we’ll see how the weekend unfolds from there.”