Monday, April 15, 2024
Home F1 News Carlos Sainz to join McLaren in 2019

Carlos Sainz to join McLaren in 2019

We didn’t have to wait too long to discover McLaren’s replacement plan for Fernando Alonso—they found another quick Spaniard to fill his shoes for 2019 in the form of Carlos Sainz.

McLaren announced a multi-year deal with Sainz which surprises me if I’m honest. A couple of thoughts on the Sainz appointment have me wondering:

If you would have asked me at the end of last year about a multi-year deal committed to Sainz, I would say that’s a great idea, but after half a season of being more than covered by his teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, I am sure he’s a good driver to sign but not a direct replacement for the kind of results they were getting from Alonso.

I think a lot of Carlos and he’s certainly a terrific driver and perhaps much of his appointment also has to do with the teammate choice the team have. The press release says absolutely nothing about Vandoorne and in F1, they usually do say something like, “Sainz will join Stoffel Vandoorne in 2019 to lead the team further up the grid” etc. The absence of Vandoorne’s name as Carlos’s teammate in the press release suggests they haven’t done a deal with the Belgian and may not.

If this is the case, and it is a big “IF”, then perhaps Carlos will team with Lando Norris and as a rookie, he’ll benefit from racing alongside Carlos. Even though Carlos is only 23, this will be his 5th season in F1 so he has all the right experience and youth for a team to get behind in a long-term fashion—that is as long as he delivers.

Why a long-term deal with Carlos? One would presume that Sainz is leaving his Red Bull association with this deal if it is a long-term deal. This means that he’s left the nest and as such, he would want the security of a multi-year deal. I assume that means two years at the least. If is it two years, that positions the team for big changes in 2021 when the regulations change.

Carlos has the Renault power unit and drivability concept down so that’s a big bonus and Renault know him very well. It all plays into McLaren’s Renault-powered ecosystem for sure. Carlos can be super quick but the question might be his ability to be the team leader at McLaren.

Regardless, there is another angle to look at this appointment too; what other options did McLaren have? Sergio Perez possibly? Lando Norris and Vandoorne? Some have suggested Esteban Ocon but I have to think his ties with Mercedes might make that a less likely option. Pierre Gasly will want to remain at Red Bull for Daniel Ricciardo’s seat.

Given the driver market, existing contracts and material constraints all teams have, Carlos may have been the logical choice but time will tell because if he rises to the occasion as the team leader, he may also be the perfect choice.

McLaren Press Release:

Carlos Sainz will race for the team from the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship

McLaren Racing today confirms that Carlos Sainz will race for the team in Formula 1 from the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Carlos, 23, from Madrid, Spain, has signed a multi-year deal with the team, replacing Fernando Alonso. Carlos will enter his fifth season of Formula 1 when he joins the team as a McLaren driver in 2019. He currently sits 11th in the drivers’ championship standings with 30 points.

Part of a legendary racing dynasty, in his early racing career Carlos won the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC championship and came runner-up in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, both in 2011. He made his debut in Formula 1 at the start of the 2015 season as reigning Formula Renault 3.5 series champion, with seven poles and seven wins.

Zak Brown, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Racing, commented:

“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.

“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.

“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.”

Carlos Sainz commented:

“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.”

McLaren will communicate its full driver line-up for the 2019 season in due course.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Tom Firth

So Sainz to McLaren has been doing the rounds for months so it’s not really out of the blue. The thing is though I’m not sure Sainz was their first pick to replace Alonso. I suspect their Alonso replacement pick was Ricciardo which McLaren couldn’t get and therefore Sainz has been promoted to replace him. The options that are left for 2nd driver are complicated. I think Vandoorne is unlikely to retain his seat given recent noises from McLaren. What might save him though is the opinion of many that Lando Norris is not quite ready for an F1 drive… Read more »


Do you think Norris would want to take a McLaren seat at the moment?
He’s seem how things have gone for Vandoorne, who was also expected to be the next big thing. Norris would be smart to find a way to sidestep a similar fate.

Tom Firth

The chance to race for ‘McLaren’ in F1 is a huge incentive in itself and not an opportunity you would likely pass up if the option existed, regardless of the current competitiveness.


Hi Tom, Alonso, Button and probably Vandoorne apparently hold a different viewpoint.
They’re a bit more attractive than Williams (better funded), but I’m pretty confident that these drivers are motivated more by the competitiveness of the team than its legacy.

Tom Firth

Never meant was much incentive to stay longer term but is one to sign for them as all three did. Also particularly if your an F2 driver wanting to try and make a name for yourself, racing for McLaren provides a rather nice starter package.

Tom Firth

Are you going to be any more competitive as a rookie in any other seat that accepts rookie drivers?


Based on Toro Rosso and Sauber this season, yes.
Williams, not so much.


Well this is awkward, isn’t it? Between this and the statement about Vandoorne’s performance a few days ago, it looks like they had already basically pulled the trigger on the rumored Sainz-replaces-Vandoorne maneuver aimed at pleasing Alonso. Only Alonso went and retired on them. It’s like buying the engagement ring a day before your girlfriend breaks up with you. The silver lining is that Sainz is a good driver and they weren’t going to do any better him anyways. It’ll just be awkward if they can’t land another driver and have to stick with Vandoorne after publicly shit-talking him in… Read more »

The Captain

Nah, I find it impossible to believe the Alonso move was a ‘surprise’ to McLaren. Every Indycar rumor right now is that McLaren is entering the sport next year with Alonso as a driver. They’ve known this for some time and have been negotiating with Sainz for a while now, it’s just the “F1 rumor mill’ assumed it was for Vandoorne.


McLaren said the Alonso change had been talked about for several months. It’s the Ricciardo move that has upset the apple cart among all these teams in the driver market. McLaren would have LOVED to have signed Daniel but it didn’t happen.


I’m surprised to see how well Hulkenberg (52 pts, 3 ret – crashed himself, taken out by Ro Gro, 1 car failure) has outscored Sainz (30pts, 1 ret – crash w/ Grosjean at Silverstore; can’t remeber who was at fault). Sainz best two results (5th in Baku and 7th in Spain) were two of Hulk’s retirements.Until his 12th place in Hungary, Hulk was 9th or higher in every race he finished (with only one 8th and one 9th). Hulk has outplaced Sainz in 7 out of 9 races they both finished in 2018. The last 4 races in 2017 when… Read more »


Things are setting up to be mighty interesting for 2021…if Renault can achieve 3rd in WCC for next two years, that might attract the engineering talent and prompt the necessary investment for the reg changes (also helping Mclaren if they nail the engine). Red Bull Honda will be a wild card, but if they get it right then maybe we’re looking at 4+ teams with different engines contending at the top…(at least one can dream)


I guess this pretty much confirms Gasly moving up to RBR.


Unless its Raikonnen……


You called that right Fabio.
Any other predictions?


It’s not a great move for Sainz. In a similar way to Alonso finding that there are no potentially race winning seats open to him, it rather looks like after Ricciardo took him Renault seat, Sainz looked around and saw that he wasn’t going to get a potentially race winning seat, or even a ‘best of the rest’ seat, and grabbed the McLaren seat before anyone else did. I fear that this is going to sink his F1 career. Sainz isn’t an acknowledged superstar, so his reputation isn’t going to be able to survive driving a poor car for successive… Read more »

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x