Carlos Sainz Jr has successfully secured an early release from Renault so he can drive a McLaren for the first time in next week’s Abu Dhabi Formula 1 tyre test.

Only two of the 10 F1 teams are going into the 2019 season with the same line-up, so many are attempting to give their new drivers an early chance to begin working with them in the Pirelli sessions at Yas Marina.

Sainz has been released by Renault to get his first experience of the MCL33 on Wednesday, while his 2019 team-mate Lando Norris will drive on Tuesday.

Other drivers who will sample their future teams for the first time include George Russell at Williams, and Lance Stroll at Force India.

Kimi Raikkonen is expected to be allowed to drive for Sauber, although it has yet to be confirmed.

McLaren
Carlos Sainz Jr

But Red Bull has made it clear that Sainz’s replacement Daniel Ricciardo will not be allowed to drive for Renault.

In less contentious moves Charles Leclerc will drive for Ferrari, Robert Kubica will share the Williams with Russell, and Pierre Gasly will become an official Red Bull driver for the first time.

The test is the final opportunity for Pirelli to sign off on its 2019 spec tyres, with all teams having the chance to try them.

Teams are not allowed to try new car parts at the test.

However, before the test even begins, the drivers will have the final race of 2018 to clear. This weekend is the Abu Dhabi GP and all the teams and drivers are eager to see the back of 2018.

For some, it is their final race with their respective teams before moving to a new environment. But, for the likes of Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne, Sergey Sirotkin and Esteban Ocon, it is their last race in F1. Hopefully, in the case of Ocon, Sirotkin and Vandoorne, it is not goodbye forever.

McLaren
Sainz will be replacing Alonso at McLaren

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