- Jun 5, 2009
Toro Rosso driver and Red Bull junior Carlos Sainz Jr. has reportedly secured a contract to drive for Renault Sport F1, paving the way for McLaren's Renault engine switch in 2018.
The deal to bring Sainz into the Renault fold alongside Hulkenberg next season has been agreed as part of a larger sweetener package from Toro Rosso, with the Italian team expected to step aside and allow Renault to switch engine supply to McLaren next year, taking on the Woking teams Honda units and keeping the Japanese firm active in the sport.
It is unknown how long Sainz has signed to drive for the Renault team, however with the manufacturer looking to dramatically improve performance over the next few years it is expected that a youngster of the talent displayed by Sainz will be locked into a long term contract, potentially for up to three years with additional clauses allowing both parties to extend the arrangement further.
It emerged during the Italian Grand Prix weekend that Sainz looked set to play a major role in the proposed Renault McLaren alliance for 2018, with Renault reportedly looking for a suitable incentive to switch over supply from their current Toro Rosso agreement. Sainz is an ideal candidate to replace a struggling Palmer in the second Renault seat, and according to Motorsport.com Sainz could potentially make a debut for the team before the end of the current season, with Malaysia cited as a possibility depending on the performances of Palmer in the second car.
Now that Sainz is in place at Renault, it looks increasingly likely that the French manufacturer will announce a deal to supply McLaren for next season, with Toro Rosso taking over Honda power as sister outfit Red Bull keep close tabs on the situation with a view to becoming a future works Honda team, should the Japanese improve performances over the coming years.
With Sainz potentially driving for the yellow team next season, have we seen the last of Jolyon Palmer in Formula One?
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Do you think Sainz to Renault is a good move for both driver and team? Can Renault do enough to pull themselves back up into championship winning contention? Does a McLaren / Renault alliance for 2018 make sense for the British outfit? Let us know in the comments section below!