McLaren have announced Carlos Sainz has signed a multi-year contract with the team to replace Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard is currently with Renault, but had been looking for a new seat for 2019 after the team signed Daniel Ricciardo to drive alongside Nico Hulkenberg next year.
The 23-year-old will be heading into his fifth season in 2019, having made his debut with Toro Rosso in 2015 before joining Renault midway through the 2017 campaign.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said in a statement announcing the deal: “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.”
Sainz added: “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.”
Sainz’s teammate is yet to be announced, with Stoffel Vandoorne out of contract and reserve driver Lando Norris in contention for the F2 title. McLaren says an announcement on the other seat will be made in due course.