Sainz Replaces Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2019

Sainz to McLaren 2019.jpg

Carlos Sainz secures multi-year deal to race for McLaren from 2019.


Having negotiated an early release from his long term Red Bull association, and with it taking his hat out of the ring for a potential Red Bull drive next season, Carlos Sainz Junior has confirmed he will be stepping into the considerable hole left by the departing Fernando Alonso next season, completing a move described as ‘multi-year’ during an announcement from McLaren earlier today.

McLaren have long been an admirer of Sainz performances in Formula One, the 23-year-old having enjoyed very solid stints with both Toro Rosso and more recently Renault, and have taken the opportunity to snap up the services of the Spanish star next season in the hope of developing both car and driver into a future championship challenging combination.

“We’re incredibly excited to have Carlos join us as a McLaren driver. We’ve been assessing him for some time now and rate him very highly among the next generation of young talent emerging through the ranks in Formula 1” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown.​

“Carlos brings with him the perfect blend of youth and experience. 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.

With Alonso already confirmed as stepping away from the sport at the end of the current season, the prospects of Stoffel Vandoorne retaining his seat are thought to be hanging by a thread, the previously well regarded Belgian driver having struggled during his time at McLaren alongside the double World Champion, potentially opening up yet another opportunity at the Woking team next year.

For his own part, Sainz is understandably excited about joining one of the most successful teams on the current Formula One grid, and hopes the new partnership can eventually put the driver in the fight for race wins and championship victories:

“I’m delighted to finally be able to confirm that I’ll be a McLaren driver from the 2019 season. 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.

“Fernando is of course one of them, 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.”


With Sainz now confirmed at McLaren, the sole realistic option for the spare Red Bull seat appears to be Pierre Gasly, the Frenchman odds on to be confirmed as partner to Max Verstappen next year, leaving an attractive role at the Red Bull junior outfit up for grabs, and plenty of talented youngsters keen to fill the seat for 2019.

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Do you think Sainz is a good fit for McLaren? Can team and driver fight for wins in the next couple of seasons, do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

 
RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.

josap11

100RPM
Sep 12, 2017
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Sainz is a good driver and it would be a shame if he wouldn't get a seat for next year. Just hope this doesn't mean Lando Norris gets passed over as he too has proven and is proving to be a worthy driver.
 

Nick Hill

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Oct 26, 2013
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I swear I'm not trolling (well, not intentionally trolling, as I suppose that's sort of in the eye of the beholder), just voicing my honest opinion: I consider Sainz extremely "meh". He's not an accident waiting to happen or anything like that, I have just found his career portfolio so far to be uninspiring. Certainly beneath traditional McLaren standards, but then again so is (in my opinion) Vandoorne, so...

That said, unless there are big driver swaps still to drop, I'm not sure who else I would have advocated they grab. Sainz is relatively steady/proven compared to who else is available.
 

Andrew Harper

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I swear I'm not trolling (well, not intentionally trolling, as I suppose that's sort of in the eye of the beholder), just voicing my honest opinion: I consider Sainz extremely "meh". He's not an accident waiting to happen or anything like that, I have just found his career portfolio so far to be uninspiring. Certainly beneath traditional McLaren standards, but then again so is (in my opinion) Vandoorne, so...

That said, unless there are big driver swaps still to drop, I'm not sure who else I would have advocated they grab. Sainz is relatively steady/proven compared to who else is available.
Yeah I think you have a valid point so don't worry you're not trolling. Haha
 
Apr 12, 2015
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I swear I'm not trolling (well, not intentionally trolling, as I suppose that's sort of in the eye of the beholder), just voicing my honest opinion: I consider Sainz extremely "meh". He's not an accident waiting to happen or anything like that, I have just found his career portfolio so far to be uninspiring. Certainly beneath traditional McLaren standards, but then again so is (in my opinion) Vandoorne, so...

That said, unless there are big driver swaps still to drop, I'm not sure who else I would have advocated they grab. Sainz is relatively steady/proven compared to who else is available.
Sainz may be an average driver, Vandoorne definitely is an average driver, but so is McLaren at the moment, an average team. In my opinion Sainz would be a really good number 2 driver if McLaren eventually gets their **** together and manage to get an actual competitive driver. Until then, he is the ideal number 1 driver for them.
 

josap11

100RPM
Sep 12, 2017
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I swear I'm not trolling (well, not intentionally trolling, as I suppose that's sort of in the eye of the beholder), just voicing my honest opinion: I consider Sainz extremely "meh". He's not an accident waiting to happen or anything like that, I have just found his career portfolio so far to be uninspiring. Certainly beneath traditional McLaren standards, but then again so is (in my opinion) Vandoorne, so...

That said, unless there are big driver swaps still to drop, I'm not sure who else I would have advocated they grab. Sainz is relatively steady/proven compared to who else is available.
Well, the second seat might still go to Norris and Sainz is probably going to be the more dependable and reliable driver compared to Alonso. I think that Alonso has been behaving very unprofessionally and blaming the car and team for everything. This does not help the morale of the team. It might bring rest to the team in the same way that Rosbergs retirement and Bottas coming into Mercedes brought them rest and enabled them to perform better in 2017 then they would have it Rosberg was still there.

It might not be a bad thing to keep the Spanish fans and support base whilst also bringing rest to the team with a dependable driver that will respect the team and is still a talented and fast driver.
 

NDG

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Aug 29, 2017
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Excerpt:
“Fernando is of course one of them, 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."


That means he's number one driver eh? Regarding Lando Norris... All we have to do is wait how well mixed the driver market will be for 2019. I will sound redundant now, but like I said, RedBull is very interested to have him. I'll stop there. All I can say is they have the power to bend anything McLaren said in the past. Regarding other Junior drivers... I should mention George Russell also needs to go somewhere at some point. F1 needs more team to fit them all in. Currently that's just daydreaming.
 

paracletus

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Dec 6, 2013
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Well, congrats to Sains for getting the drive.
Not sure how good this driver is yet - but looked decent in the TR seat a year or two ago. Will reserve judgement on this until 2019.
 

Helmut Skrdla

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Sep 27, 2010
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Sainz may be an average driver, Vandoorne definitely is an average driver, but so is McLaren at the moment, an average team.
I haven't followed this season, but last I saw my impression was that McLaren would need some improvements to even rate as average...

I hope they can find their old spirit somewhere, and maybe Sainz can help. As a fan it's been painfull to watch five years on...
 

michelforest

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Mar 2, 2010
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I think Sainz is underrated as a driver. It will be interesting to see if he and McLaren can improve together. I certainly hope so... F1 needs another team to challenge the Ferrari/Merceded/RBR triumvirat.
 

headder

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May 1, 2017
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What a joke^^ Sainz is just an average driver.

Didn't Zak Brown say last time that they need a 'veteran' in one seat?
 

M-Bimmer

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Jun 10, 2016
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Most rumours have been true so far....Great getting those F1 paddock pass videos :)
 

michelforest

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Mar 2, 2010
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What a joke^^ Sainz is just an average driver.

Didn't Zak Brown say last time that they need a 'veteran' in one seat?
There's still one seat to confirm at McLaren...

If I was McLaren, I would get Kubica. He's a veteran, he's good at developing a car... and it would calm down the Kubica fans who wants his return!! :D;)
 
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aka2k

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Sep 30, 2009
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Poor him. Whatever, he still not up to the legendary name anyway. Probably never will.
 

Slowdive

Banned
Oct 28, 2017
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This makes a lot of sense. McLaren need to invest in their car and this saves them millions over pursuing say Kimi. It also could draw Alonso back to the F1 program to race along side his buddy in a year or two after he's done with Indycar and presumably they have a better car. Perfect stop-gap solution.
 

salasnet

10RPM
Jul 13, 2017
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Is it really possible to adequately judge a driver when they have not had equipment that lets them be successful to their capabilities?

Sainz has shown quality inside every seat he has had. He has never disappointed, has he? He has always met or exceeded expectations in the seats he has been given. If that is a "meh" driver, well... I wager to say that if Sainz had been in Vettels RedBull from a few years back, Sainz would be a quadruple world champion as well.

I think there are some drivers that are truly legendary talents that are on a different plane... Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher, Senna... for example... and we certainly can't put Sainz in that company ... yet, or maybe ever... but does he have the talent to be a world champion with good equipment underneath him? ... undoubtedly.

If I'm the boss of an F1 team ... that's good enough for me for a 23 year old.
 
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Koen Verlinde

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Sep 12, 2011
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Sainz makes sense for McLaren cause of the Renault engine. It's incredible that Toro Rosso with the so called bad Honda engine is doing better and better than McLaren with the Renault engine. Putting a driver inside that has more Renault experience is probably what McLaren needs - maybe even 'gifted' by Renault in some ways.

I'd see Vandoorne either stay or go to Toro Rosso, I doubt there are much other options for the unfortunate Belgian. Yes, unfortunate as you don't dominate GP2 to then become a turd in F1. Plausible the place of Hartley will get freed up in the weeks to come.
 
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Terry Rock

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Oct 24, 2009
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I think Sainz will be a good 'fit' for McLaren, both in and outside the car.
He seems to be a 'thinking' driver...much like a young Prost and he's marketable.
He's not really been given the machinery to shine as of yet, then again...lots of good talent currently on the grid in that same predicament.
I think given a good car, he can challenge for best-of-the-rest with drivers like Magnusson.
Folks like Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Ricciardo and Verstappen are still a cut above the rest.
 
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LuigiV6

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Nov 21, 2017
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it hurts a Spanish driver in the formula 1.se you note too much-.
then I see you shutting mouths or deleting post