Following Fernando Alonso’s decision to retire from Formula 1, the Spaniard will be replaced by compatriot Carlos Sainz for next season, McLaren have confirmed.
The 37-year-old two-time world champion announced on Tuesday that he would not be competing in 2019 following his struggles to be competitive at Ferrari and then McLaren since 2013.
After 12 races so far this season Alonso is ninth in the standings and without a win or podium finish, with the next race on 26th August in Belgium following a summer break. Sainz, currently on loan at Renault from Red Bull, may have a new teammate next year with Stoffel Vandoorne struggling to make an impact and yet to sign a contract extension.
The 23-year-old Sainz has picked up 148 points from 72 races since his first F1 race in 2015 for Toro Rosso but has yet to record a podium finish, though McLaren are placing plenty of trust in the Iberian to help return the team to their former glories.
"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,” Sainz said.
"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."