Carlos Sainz to replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren for 2019

McLaren set on Sainz as Red Bull eyes Gasly

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 this year, while still driving at my best, is how I want to remember you".

Sainz drove for Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso for three seasons and is now on loan at Renault, but will lose that drive because Daniel Ricciardo is quitting Red Bull to join the French manufacturer for 2019.

"We've been assessing him [Sainz] for some time and rate him very highly among the next generation of young talent", Zak Brown, the McLaren chief executive officer, said.

Filling the gap Sainz has left at Renault will be Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who announced two weeks ago that he will be leaving Red Bull at the end of the season.

Sainz will enter his fifth season of Formula 1 when he joins McLaren next year, and is now 11th in the drivers' championship standings with 30 points.

"Carlos, 23, from Madrid, Spain, has signed a multi-year deal with the team, replacing Fernando Alonso".

The 37-year-old Spaniard - who has 32 Grand Prix wins to his credit in 17 seasons - has become increasingly disenchanted with Formula One as the once all-powerful McLaren team have fallen way off the pace.

Spain's El Mundo Deportivo says that the 23-year-old is now holidaying in Mallorca, but confirmation of his switch from Renault will come "in the coming days".

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"Finally, I'd like to thank everyone at McLaren for giving me this opportunity to fulfil a childhood dream".

The Spaniard's team-mate is yet to be confirmed with Stoffel Vandoorne under pressure to keep his seat and Formula 2 and McLaren junior driver Lando Norris also in the frame.

McLaren confimed it would confirm its full line-up in due course, with Vandoorne's seat under threat.

A McLaren spokesperson said "we never comment on driver matters" when contacted by Autosport.

"Carlos brings with him the flawless blend of youth and experience", said Brown.

However Sainz had a more positive start to the 2018 season scoring in five of the first six races but he finished behind Renault partner Nico Hülkenberg in each of the four races they both finished.

Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz will join McLaren for the 2019 season.

Sainz made his bow in Formula 1 in 2015 with the Toro Rosso team.

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