Outgoing McLaren driver Fernando Alonso has backed the team’s choice of replacement for him. The Spaniard opted to quit Formula 1 at the end of the year to pursue other interests. Now, McLaren has signed his friend, protege and countryman Carlos Sainz to succeed him from 2019.
Sainz was linked to staying with Renault or moving to Red Bull for 2019. However, he said that joining McLaren was actually a “no brainer”.
“It’s a very successful team in F1 with a lot of history. My future at Red Bull was still unclear but I wanted to become a member of the McLaren family,” he said.
According to Alonso, “Carlos has everything he needs to lead a project like McLaren that we hope will continue to improve by the end of the year.
The problems with the car have been identified for some months now even though many of the solutions cannot be applied now because the 2018 design is done.
But I think in 2019 it could look completely different. I think it could be a better year and Carlos has the experience and ability to lead such a project.
He is still young and has not been in F1 for many years, but he still has enough experience from Toro Rosso and Renault. That mix could work very well for McLaren,”.
Fellow former McLaren driver and 2009 world champion, Jenson Button also backed Sainz’s move to McLaren.
“Carlos was performing well at Renault but it’s impossible to know if McLaren is a good move for him.
With Ricciardo coming to Renault he didn’t have the option to stay so I think it’s the right decision.
We’ll have to see if McLaren improves next year. It will be difficult for them but it’s a great team with many world championships. It could take a while but they can find a way to be great again,” he said
Admittedly, McLaren have not had the best of runs in the past few seasons. Will the addition of Carlos Sainz Jr be the much-needed break?
Sainz has also said that he will try and get as much advice from Alonso as possible. He said, “When it comes to Spa I will talk with him and will start having conversations with him about next year and how to approach the year.
“And for sure he will let me know the people there and all that, he will give me good contacts.”