Carlos Sainz to join McLaren

McLaren set on Sainz as Red Bull eyes Gasly

Carlos Sainz will replace two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who has decided not to race for McLaren in the 2019 season.

"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", said Sainz.

While leaving the door open for a possible return to the circuit, Alonso gave every indication in an emotionally-charged message on Instagram, that he was bidding goodbye for good, saying: "I know (McLaren) will come back stronger and better in the future and it could be the right moment for me to be back in the series".

Zak Brown added: "His 17 years in the sport, as arguably the pre-eminent driver of his generation and undoubtedly an F1 great, have added another layer to Formula 1's rich history".

McLaren's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso attends the German Formula One Grand Prix at the Hockenheim racing circuit on July 22, 2018 in Hockenheim, southern Germany.

The 23-year-old is under contract to Red Bull but driving for the works Renault squad on loan this year. The Spaniard now sits 11th in the drivers' championship standings with Renault.

"Carlos brings with him the flawless blend of youth and experience", stated McLaren CEO Zak Brown in the team's announcement.

The double World Champion announced on Tuesday that he is quitting Formula 1 at the end of this season. I have built so many great relationships with many fantastic people at McLaren, and they have given me the opportunity to broaden my horizons and race in other categories. Fernando is an important part of our story and will join an illustrious line of McLaren drivers. He could join Toro Rosso in place of the promoted Gasly alongside Brendon Hartley.

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"But for young drivers or different drivers, it is tough because they just hope that next year the team does an unbelievable step or they receive a call from one or two teams".

There were, however, several clashes both on and off the track and it never looked to be a viable partnership going forward.

The main complication McLaren faced with Sainz was his contractual situation with Red Bull.

Alonso, whose best finish for McLaren so far was 10th in 2016, said he would carry on endeavouring to finish with a flourish.

Ricciardo's move to Renault pairs him up with Nico Hulkenberg, who is on a multi-year deal, and leaves Sainz without a seat for 2019.

Can McLaren get the most out of his undoubted talent?

Former F1 driver turned Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle also referenced Alonso's combative nature and "unfulfilled potential". If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click "Report".

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