RACE DEBRIEF

    Two days after Fernando Alonso announced he won’t be racing in Formula 1 next year, McLaren have confirmed Carlos Sainz as the two-time world champion’s replacement…

    It was revealed on Tuesday that Alonso will step away from F1 at the end of the season, and although he did hint that he may return to the team in the future, McLaren have been quick to secure a new driver for 2019.

    And that driver is Sainz, the Spaniard who joins on a multi-year deal. Previously contracted to Red Bull, this year he has been on loan to Renault, who have signed up Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to partner Nico Hulkenberg next year.

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

    The 23-year-old, who made his F1 debut in 2015 with Toro Rosso, will be tasked with helping McLaren return to their heydays, with the team last winning a world title 10 years ago.

    Zak Brown, McLaren Racing’s Chief Executive Officer, 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.”

    McLaren will confirm their other 2019 race driver at a later date, leaving the future of Stoffel Vandoorne unclear for now.

    FLASHBACK: Sainz and Alonso in conversation in 2016

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