Sainz Signs Two-Year Deal With McLaren For 2019

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Just as Fernando Alonso announced that he would not return to formula 1 racing next season, the McLaren team announced Thursday (August 16th) that another Spaniard, Carlos Sainz Jr., will replace him by signing a two-year deal with the Woking-based outfit.

Sainz already was on a deal with Red Bull, which would have picked him as a replacement for the departed Daniel Ricciardo, who is taking Sainz’s position at Renault. But the Austrian drinks manufacturer has stalled on the deal for Sainz, giving the opportunity for McLaren to sign him.

“I’m delighted to finally be able to confirm that I’ll be a McLaren driver from the 2019 season,” Sainz said to the official formula 1 website.” It’s something I’ve been looking at for a while and I’m very excited about this next chapter in my career. I’ve been a McLaren fan for as long as I can remember. It’s a great name in the sport with an incredible heritage, and the list of drivers that have raced for McLaren over the years are among the heroes of Formula 1.

Sainz also has Alonso to thank, as one driver from Spain makes way for another. And Sainz believes that his mentor is one of the greats of McLaren racing.

“Fernando is of course one of them,” he added. “So, it’s particularly special that I’ll be taking his seat as part of the next generation of Spanish racing drivers behind the wheel of a McLaren. Finally, I’d like to thank everyone at McLaren for giving me this opportunity to fulfil a childhood dream. The team has a long-term plan for the future and I’m very much looking forward to playing a key role in its journey back to success.”

Sainz began his racing career in F1 with the Toro Rosso team in 2015, before being loaned in a wild deal that took Honda power to the Red Bull junior team, swapping Renault power to McLaren, and finally sending the Spaniard to partner Nico Hulkenberg to the French team.

McLaren’s Chief Executive Officer, Zak Brown, had been looking for Sainz for a while, trying to pick a driver that is up and coming in this sport.

“Carlos brings with him the perfect blend of youth and experience.” Brown said. “Although he’s just 23, he’ll be starting his fifth season in the sport with us and will bring with him a huge amount of racing experience, both in Formula 1 and with our partner Renault. It’s no secret that Carlos is a huge admirer of Fernando’s, and it’s fitting that he will be stepping into his seat as a Spaniard with a legendary name in motorsport. We think he’ll be a great fit for McLaren and we’re really excited to have him join us from next season and beyond.”

Now with one driver confirmed, McLaren now must look at who will partner Sainz, as the three favorites for this spot are Briton Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon, which would greatly help the engine sponsorship, or current pilot Stoffel Vandoorne. That decision will be made in due time.

Mark Gero

A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.

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Volume 2018, Issue 8, Posted 5:08 PM, 08.16.2018