Carlos Sainz Jnr, Renault, Monaco, 2018

McLaren confirms Sainz deal as Gasly closes on Red Bull drive

2019 F1 season

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McLaren has confirmed Red Bull junior driver Carlos Sainz Jnr will join them in 2019, a move which indicates Red Bull has made a decision on its Formula 1 line-up for next year.

Sainz, who has been on loan to Renault from Red Bull since the latter races of 2017, found himself without a seat for next year after Daniel Ricciardo signed for Renault. With Sainz now confirmed at McLaren, Red Bull looks set to appoint Pierre Gasly to its team for 2019.

Sainz, who will take Fernando Alonso’s vacant seat at McLaren, said the move is “something I’ve been looking at for a while.”

“I’m very excited about this next chapter in my career,” he added. “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 entered F1 with Toro Rosso in 2015. Despite switching teams mid-season last year he placed ninth in the championship.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said McLaren “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,” Brown added. “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.”

McLaren is yet to confirm who Sainz’s team mate will be.

View the current list of 2019 F1 drivers and teams

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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103 comments on “McLaren confirms Sainz deal as Gasly closes on Red Bull drive”

  1. Bombshell ;)

    1. Bombshell was what Ric dropped few weeks back this was a little expected when there was talks of RBR promoting Gasly to that seat left empty by Ric.

      1. @coldfly is just poking a little fun at Keith methinks.

        1. @coldfly @sparkyamg I’ll allow it, just this once :-)

      2. That was a hit to Alonso announcement being titled as bombshell. Sainz announcement was as big a surprise as Alonso’s.
        Ric has the only real one thus far. While the next two are probably Gasly at RedBull and Stroll at FI.

        1. Is the bombshell that Sainz didn’t get the RedBull drive?

          I’ve got this strange feeling that DR was meant to go to McLaren and Sainz to RB as part of the deal for Sainz going to Renault and McLaren swapping PU’s with Toro Rosso.

          I guess it’s same difference or better for Sainz at McLaren, at least he’s got a chance to prove himself and not get messed about by RB as has been the case almost every year so far for him.

          I really hope it works out for Sainz at McLaren.

    2. Not really a bombshell but sort of is. No world champion in a McLaren next year. When was the last time that happened?

      It’s great that Sainz is going to McLaren – he’s a quality driver. The other thing in his favour is that Alonso has left. Going by Alonso’s past luck, that could very well mean that McLaren will improve in form!

      1. 2006, Mclaren lineup was Kimi (wasn’t a champion yet back then..) and Montoya/De la Rosa.
        I also think it is great that Sainz is going to mclaren, I like the guy. And with Alonso’s luck, mclaren will be 4th or 3rd best team with some occasional podium.

  2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    16th August 2018, 13:40

    I’ve just realised that Ocon is almost left in the wilderness. Absolutely insane that’s the case. Hope he gets the second McLaren drive with his Renault connections, otherwise it could be Williams.

    1. McLaren will surely go with Stoffel or Lando for the next seat. They have two very capable drivers coming from their academy. I have a gut feeling they will continue with Stoffel to have some continuity and he has been consistently close to Alonso.

      Must have been a tricky decision for Sainz between McLaren and RedBull. Glad to see some change on the grid for next season, always refreshing.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        16th August 2018, 14:11

        I get the feeling Norris isn’t ready and they just know Stoffel isn’t the desired level but I think you’re right it will most likely be one of them.

      2. Must have been a tricky decision for Sainz between McLaren and RedBull. Glad to see some change on the grid for next season, always refreshing.

        I get the impression Sainz wasn’t making this decision. This surely would have been a Red Bull decision!? I have no idea why you’d pick a midfield runner over a race winning car. I’d imagine Helmut picked Gasly over Sainz in light of Max and Carlos’ fraught relationship.

        1. a midfield runner

          sure about that?

        2. @ecwdanselby If Red Bull choose Gasly it will for me prove that they are just about Verstappen now. Maybe there’s really something to the rumour that he has a veto on any team mate replacement.

          1. Perhaps they think that Gasly has higher potential?

          2. I doubt that any noise from Max would overrule Dr Marko. If Marko wants Gasly there, Gasly will be there.

          3. I do believe Max can very well have the power of veto at this point. He is a rising star and RedBull really needs him. It’s not like they have a comparable talent in their academy to replace him with. Now that Ricciardo is gone, they will be especially pressed to keep Max happy. And I bet the increasing power Max and Jos hold was one of the reasons for Ricciardo moving. So, unless RedBull are willing to shop outside of their lineup, they have no other choice but to cave to Verstappens’ demands.

      3. I think McLaren will keep Stoff. He is loyal, consistent, mentally hardened and inexpensive (both in terms of salary and crashes). He would be the ideal benchmark to assess progress on the ’19 car. Even IF he would be slower than Sainz, the difference would be very marginal considering his pace versus the great Alonso (taking into account his status as a clear 2nd driver, hence receiving updates later and getting disfavorable team orders).
        From McLaren’s point of view, it would not make much sense to take a risk with Norris just yet, nor taking in a loan from Mercedes (Ocon). Neither of them would bring an indisputable increase in championship points to the equation. Only if they would bring substantial money with them, but I assume this is not (yet) a dealbreaker for McLaren. Toto Wolf is not going to enrich McLaren either.

      4. @jeanrien

        Must have been a tricky decision for Sainz between McLaren and Red Bull.

        I very much doubt he was given the choice.

      5. Isnt Sainz to Mclaren a kind of forced decision? AS im sure Red Bull would of been the preferred seat

    2. Maybe ocon wasn’t available but I would have picked ocon over sainz. Sainz’s this season has not been good enough whereas ocon has been matching perez.

      There is still a chance kimi goes back to mclaren and leclerc goes to ferrari. :p

  3. As @keithcollantine mentioned on twitter, no mention of Red Bull or Toro Rosso there – I guess that relationship has broken down pretty well. I hope the car will work better next year. Anyway, it’s at best a sideways step, I think, but who knows.

    1. Sainz has time to see McLaren build up again @bosyber, unlike Alonso.

      I hope they keep Stoffel on, would be good to see who of these two would come out on top.

      1. Have been critising Stoffel quite a lot during the season, but somehow I feel this is the beginning of the end for Sainz, it is that sort of thing you can’t really explain, but I would put my money on Stoffel.

        If that happens, Sainz has only beaten Kvyat during his F1 career iirc

        1. Sainz’s career is now fully in the hands of mclaren engineers. If the next mclaren is as bad as this year’s then sainz’s and vandoorne’s f1 career are taking serious damage. If mclaren makes a solid p4 championship car (like renault has done this year) or even surprises everybody and makes a car good enough for p3 in constructors then sainz and vandoorne are getting looked at by other teams. In worst case even mclaren doesn’t want them anymore because of bad results even when the reason for bad results could be 100% the car. You can be better than senna or fangio but if you finish 12th or 15th nobody cares.

          1. @socksolid indeed, and that’s why I called it a bit of a sideways movement ; I agree that he has some time @bascb, and with the current management probably more than either Magnussen or Perez were given, but their short McLaren stint did damage their career. Of course, at the time McLaren were still in denial about where their problem was, and so blaming the young driver was the easy way forward,so let’s hope this time they find the way back, and keep their potentially great drivers around.

          2. The only way McLaren can end-up third is if Honda on that RedBull is really really bad. But I guess they are happy with the progress on Torro Rosso to be confident it’s at the very least not worse than the current Renault. In my opinion, the top three teams are untouchable for the time being, and the Renault team is the only one that, can join this VIP class. But even in the second-tier, it’s not as clear-cut as it might seem. Haas is pretty strong, and if Ferrari once again produces good parts for next year, they might get even stronger. And you never know what magic Force India is going to come up with, although having Stroll in the team instead of Ocon will definitely lower their points tally. So, I think realistically McLaren is looking at the fifth place at best.

  4. So, does this mean that Ricciardo rejected McLaren for Renault?

    1. Yes I think so mate, more money, a better car short term with a better potential longer term. McLaren are not in a good place, that’s a shame. I hope they do recover soon.
      Dan set himself up, like most of them have, for new 2021 rules. I really hope F1 get it right for 2021!

    2. It’s a more logical step for Daniel to go with Renault. Usually the engine manufacturer’s team gets the podiums, so if you want to win races then Renault is usually the better option.

  5. @coldfly
    Yep- we never saw it coming :) A bit like Dan just needed to fly the wings a bit more (ok- didn’t see that coming)
    I would have thought maybe more so it leaves Checo with a problem? As good a Checo is and has Mexican money I think he is around 28 and Ocon 20 with Mercedes backing. Toto will make sure young Ocon gets a drive, and as he should. But it shows even more in F1 its who you know.

    If I am correct where would Checo go? Other McLaren seat again? His comments last week seems no, maybe Haas to replace Romain?

    1. @garns Checo? Certainly at Force Canada next year.
      Occon to Williams?

      1. @jeanrien
        I would prefer the Force India line up to stay as is. Checo is like The Hulk and cant just grab that top team (and they wont now unless Renault become a top team again).

        But Lawrence Stroll just effectively bought/rescued Force India. I would assume he will put his son in next year?

      2. Yes most likely will remains at force Canada, that must be the reason he triggered the administration process, I don’t think he wold do that to move to another team at the end of the season. Ocon will most likely go to Williams

      3. Ocon at Force India and Perez to Haas?!

        1. Haas will have Leclerc/K-Mag
          Agree with @jeanrien, Occon to Williams with mercedes backing, maybe with Sirotkin, or Kubica but that I feel is a bit far fetched.

          Perez/Stroll is the best bet for Force Canada, unless papa manages to find a weak team-mate for Lance, otherwise Perez will destroy him.

          1. Not sure who’s in the Stroll consortium, but with some Sim Pesos they could make it Force America with a full NA line-up.

            McLaren looks a bit under-experienced with Vandoorne & Sainz; maybe Raikkonen is a real candidate after all.
            Leclerc should be given more limelight; a year at Haas seems a good next step.
            K-Mag to stay at Haas (deserved) or might keep the 2nd Ferrari seat warm for 1-2 years (great for him).
            Red Bull is best advised to give Verstappen an experienced partner to continue his development. But RBR will probably throw Gasly in there.

            All that still leaves some interesting seats at Haas, Sauber, and even STR.

          2. That sounds about right:
            Williams with Ocon and TBA
            Force Canada with Stroll and Checo
            Haas with K-mag and Leclerc

    2. Vettel fan 17 (@)
      16th August 2018, 14:04

      @garns Checo could stay with FI/Stroll, after all he helped them be bought by daddy Stroll. Ocon could go to McLaren? And they could leave Norris in F2 for anoher year or give him to STR?

      1. @vettelfan17
        That’s a very good point, if its wasn’t for Checo’s bold move (and I applaud him for the guts to do that) the team may be no more, they may give some loyalty.

        Ocon to Williams keeps him in the Mercedes team PU wise, but what a step back for him. To McLaren seems him driving a Renault PU, but I guess from Mercs point of view better have him driving F1 rather than nothing.

        For me this just proves having just 3 top teams is no good for- we have so many talented drivers who need better seat yet a few good drivers with money that will get them.

        1. That’s a very good point, if its wasn’t for Checo’s bold move (and I applaud him for the guts to do that) the team may be no more, they may give some loyalty.

          .. and Perez will probably be very relieved to be rid of Ocon, next year…

      2. I think McLaren will keep Stoffel, they loan out Norris to STR which in turn ease the exit of James Key.

        And as @garns says, Ocon to Williams

    3. I’m sure Perez is promised a seat at Force India. I mean he helped the Stroll-group buy speeding the proces and securing a lower price in their buyout. I bet there has been talks and promises made between Stroll senior and Perez, before the financial claim was placed. Perez is just the willing puppet, when the big boys play their game.

      1. Not to mention that between Perez’ backers and Stroll + companies he is already talking to, it should be able to get a solid budget on the table @racefan, @garns.
        I don’t think Mercedes is offering as much in comparison (price cut on the engines)

        1. I didn’t think of it that way, good point made.

    4. Perez seems to have closer ties to Stroll than Ocon has, according to rumours. So it seems likely Perez will stay.
      Ocons only other option seems Williams. Hope they have a better car next year.

      But that will also mean that there is no place for Russell on the grid and that’s a shame.

    5. My guess is we’ll see Perez or Ocon going to Williams/Haas.

    6. Brown said they didn’t want both drivers to be youngsters, so in my mind they will go for Perez in the other seat.

  6. Redbull is very brave if they hire Gastly as teammate to Verstappen. I mean, 12 F1-races completed in total. Or is Nico Rosberg returning to F1?

    1. Maybe but many said Max is too young for F1, they changed the rules for entry, and Max proved them wrong.

      Gasly I think seems very solid, and like his mate Leclerc maybe struggled a little in the first few races but have been pretty impressive since. Max has meant everyone expects the young guy to come in a dominate- they all wont, but Max, Gasly, Ocon and Leclerc are doing pretty well- all very immense talents I think.

      But I would like a Nico comeback :)

    2. Michael Brown (@)
      16th August 2018, 18:32

      A level 12 Gastly?!

  7. Lots of people are assuming RBR will go with Gasly. Maybe they will choose one of the current Force India drivers?

    If not then one of them is likely to end up at Williams.

  8. A lot of people are assuming that RBR will go with Gasly. I wonder if they might go for one of the current Force India drivers.

    If not then one of them will almost certainly end up at Williams.

    1. @phil-f1-21 – Phil, a bit left field but which one would you go for?
      If they took Ocon it may firm up a Merc PU in the future – but I don’t think they will do that :) I would love to see Estaban and Max go toe to toe.

      1. @garns I still think Gasly is the most likely choice. I don’t think Merc would want to let Ocon go so maybe Checo is more likely. Had good experience as well.

  9. Not much more Sainz could have done really. He needs a team at about his current level and there is no other team that has a drive available that offers that.

    The thing that interests me is how relations will be between Gasly and Verstappen. Gasly seems to be a fiery guy and is undoubtedly quick, if he starts to get results I wonder how that will affect the dynamic.

    1. @geemac

      I actually think Gasly is being promoted too soon. I guess it’s Max who doesn’t want Sainz in that other seat. Right now, Red Bull are pampering Max a little too much. Offering Sainz a 1 year contract with Red Bull would definitely be the safer choice. While Gasly has shown moments of brilliance, he’s being benchmarked against Hartley, which is a massive unknown.

      1. I agree Sainz was the safer bet for Red Bull, but I only flagged the point on the Gasly/Verstappen relationship because most sources have seemed to suggest (prior to the announcement) that his history with Verstappen would go against Sainz while not considering how Gasly and Verstappen would get on.

      2. Agree. Promoting Gasly would be very similar to promoting Kvyat (within a year of joining F1) and we know how that turned out.
        I am not fully convinced with Gasly either. He has had 3 brilliant weekends in Bahrain, Monaco and Hungary but nothing else. I can’t believe that the car performance has varied so much between races. He is definitely under performing in other races, we just can’t make out due to Hartley in the other seat who is not a benchmark.

        1. Kvyat brought two podiums to RedBull, was decent at the very least, finished ahead of Ricciardo in their first year together (I know, it’s circumstances, but still), and seemed to be finding his footing. His real spiral down the abyss started after the demotion back to Torro Rosso. So in this sense, I believe Gasly being promoted after one year will be just fine.

  10. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    16th August 2018, 14:16

    So Norris might go to Toro Rosso on loan

    1. Thats not bad either!! I would think Hartley is gone, I hope not but needs some great last 9 races.

  11. What a fall from grace for McLaren. The only thing they had was that they still had world class drivers even when they were struggling, and now instead they have a Renault and Red Bull reject, and someone who even McLaren themselves are unsure of. Their only hope is that Alonso wants to return for 2020, otherwise they’ll quickly become the Everton of F1: taking the rejects from top teams and only signing those who the top 4 deem “not good enough”.

    1. I had similar thoughts – McLaren are a proper midfield team now. It was hard to accept that for a long time. It felt like a top team was simply getting through tough times. McLaren will have a works team status, Dennis will make McLaren great again, Honda will finally build a proper engine, Renault will finally replace the only bad component in the car… Apparently, McLaren’s fall from grace is about more than just one or two components.

    2. Agree. I look at Williams now and feel McLaren will be fully in that state in a few years. It is a sad end for the former great teams of the 80s/90s.

  12. Saiz or Ocon who is better ?

    1. Ocon I think. Personal opinion.

      1. I agree with you.

  13. Not too surprising following yesterday’s reports.

  14. Since anyone has said it yet, Kubica for RBR 2019!

    1. It is sad that even with these shake-ups i can’t see him getting a drive at Williams next season.
      It would be so nice but if a vacant place appears there Ocon will grab it because the team needs every cent they can get.

  15. Looks like a Sainz and Vandoorne lineup at McLaren next year. I don’t expect great things from either of the drivers, but they’re a formidable midfield line-up considering how some midfield lineups might get weaker next year. Although some positions haven’t been filled yet (mainly Ocon’s place as well as Leclerc’s), I’m taking a punt and saying the line-ups will be …
    1) Ricciardo and Hulkenberg, Renault
    2) Magnussen & Grosjean, Haas
    3) Sainz & Vandoorne, McLaren
    4) Leclerc & Erricson, Sauber
    5) Ocon & Sirotkin, Williams
    6) Perez & Stroll, Force Canada
    7) Hartley & Norris (or some other rookie), Toro Rosso

    Although it’s a disappointing line up for Mclaren’s standards, it’s not the most uncompetitive line-up among the midfield teams. Toro Rosso are guaranteed to have a poor and inexperienced line up next year. Force Canada will have a much poorer line up with Stroll in one of the seats. I don’t see where Ocon can go other than Williams …so he isn’t partnering up with anyone decent either.

    I think this is the first time I’ve really looked at McLaren and felt that the times are bad. Usually, they’ve had top notch drivers with a lot of ambition of getting back to the top. There’s a certain energy and expectation of McLaren making strides forward, but when you see Sainz and Vandoorne in those seats, it really hits you that McLaren are just a midfield team now. I’ll still be rooting for them next year, but they’re proper underdogs this time.

    1. I’m going to stir this up a bit just for the fun of it

      1) Agree
      2)K-Mag, Leclerc
      4)Giovanazzi, Fuoco (Surely we won’t have another season of Marcus will we?)
      5) Ocon, Kubica (but Sirotkin looks a better bet, maybe Russel could fit here as well?)
      6) agree
      7) Norris, Ticktum (or could we see them getting someone back like they did with Hartley? Albuquerque for example?)

      1. Ticktum? He doesn’t have enough points everyone knows this… Or are you predicting for 2020?
        I think for 2019:
        1) Ricciardo and Hulkenberg, Renault
        2) Magnussen & Leclerc , Haas
        3) Sainz & Vandoorne, McLaren
        4) Giovinazzi & Kvyat , Sauber
        5) Ocon & Sirotkin, Williams
        6) Perez & Stroll, Force Canada
        7) Hartley & Norris, Toro Rosso
        8) Hamilton & Bottas, Mercedes
        9) Vettel & Kimi, Ferrari
        10) Verstappen & Gasly, Red Bull

        1. He can still get the points until the end of the season

  16. Given that Gasly failed to win a single race in the junior categories in 2014 and 2015 and there were serious doubts about his talent back then, I would say this is a dazzling career achievement for him.

    1. Not sure if it will be Gasly in that seat..
      Expect a surprise there.

      1. agree – i’m going to float Hartley for that seat…

        1. Hartley in preference to Gasly? I cannot see that happening.

  17. @todfod – “I think this is the first time I’ve really looked at McLaren and felt that the times are bad”

    Really mate? Have you been watching the past 3 years? Things are not good. It was easy to blame Honda and then a change at Renault would make it all fine- I think Eric or Zak said they would challenge Red Bull for the occasional podium. Not so. The team is bad, real bad- not sure if its culture from top end down but its not working for sure.

    I am a Senna fan so to see McLaren like this really sucks to see- they need to change it up fast and big time- the answer, well I don’t know!

    Ron Dennis was a VERY hard man, but at his peak the team won……………….

    1. @garns

      Don’t get me wrong… it’s been one disaster after another at McLaren since 2014, but there was always hope. They had 2 world champions racing for them and they had every intention of returning to the top (or at least their fans had enough hope that they would). Right now, it feels like they’ve thrown in the towel and admitted that they’re in deep doo doo. Fans look at the driver line up with a semi disgusted look on their face.

      1. Mclaren had been a disaster since mid 2012, but they still had a relatively good car. 2009 had shown what was possible in terms of decline.
        By 2013 and and 2014, with the Mercedes engines, they were already lost.
        They’ve just made horrible cars ever since and hid behind the Honda unreliability.

    2. @garns

      Don’t get me wrong… it’s been one disaster after another at McLaren since 2014, but there was always hope. They had 2 world champions racing for them and they had every intention of returning to the top (or at least their fans had enough hope that they would). Right now, it feels like they’ve thrown in the towel and admitted that they’re in deep doo doo. Fans look at the driver line up with a semi disgusted look on their face.

    3. @garns, the thing is, whilst a lot of people suggest getting Ron Dennis back in, that feels like a backward looking move that is trying to reclaim old glories.

      Times have changed considerably since the glory days of the 1980’s and 1990’s that fans hark back to when discussing Ron – go back to 1988, for example, and two thirds of the teams on the grid have vanished, whilst half of the remaining six teams have gone through at least one change in ownership (and usually multiple). It’s a very changed world, but I am not sure that Ron was necessarily adapting to it – there were criticisms that he kept asking for things, such as sponsorship or terms in engine partnerships, that might have worked 20 years ago but, in a changed commercial and technical environment, were out of step with the modern era and out of touch with it too.

      1. Hmmm…good points, (as ever) anon.

        I wonder if the true Garagista era is over. And this is just the slow fade to black hassustomer cars and manufacturer teams. Red Bull is sort of in between – independent but with a huge corporate backer. So a Tweenagista.

  18. @todfod
    Head up mate. They will come good but need a massive restructure right from the top- may be including shareholders as well.
    Sainz seems to have what it takes but seems like Kimi, a day out then maybe a day off. When he is at it he’s quick!
    Seemed too arrogant when he came into F1, like Max as well. But while Sainz had a WDC dad in rally, Max had one with F1 contacts – a huge difference.

    Stoffel needs a step up, I hope he can but not so sure- don’t think he will be there next year.

    1. The dads, definitely had some issues. Especially the Sainzes who tried to influence decisions by RBR using his contacts in the spanish press.
      That stupid move killed the RB carreer of Sainz.
      Both, Sainz and Verstappen are not arrogant, still not sure where that story started.

  19. This silly season is on of the most shocking in a while. Makes me wonder why Sainz went to a back of the grid seat? I think Alonso recommended him to come over.

    1. @david-beau: That and at the back of the grid is where Keith buries the bombshells. ;-)

  20. Gasly has experience with the Honda engine, it’s worth having him in the red bull team just for that since 2019 will be a development year for them.

    1. @emu55: Exactly. When he takes his 8th power unit, it’ll be nothing new to worry about.

  21. I don’t know about you all but I’m just glad to see some big shuffles in the driver market. Been a long time coming

  22. ESPN: Gasly goes to Redbull

  23. I rather think that Sainz at Red Bull could bring the best racecraft out of Verstappen and vice-versa. But since he’s at McLaren now, I can only think that the right move for them is to hire Ocon, forming a really solid lineup for next year. However, I believe they tend to mantain Stoffel on the second seat.

    Now I’m gonna tell ya… Leclerc staying at Sauber and Ocon descending to Williams will both be a waste.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      16th August 2018, 20:36

      I wouldn’t say both Leclerc staying and Ocon moving will be a waste. Just think about the improvement Sauber have made compared to last year. Quite a big jump. With their sponsors and the fact they will likely beat Williams this season, that could maybe boost things at the start of next year. Leclerc staying may not be so bad.

      Regarding Williams, it is unlikely that they will struggle like they have this year for long. Lowe could well have been helping develop a much better car for next year already. And with a better driver like Ocon, I think Williams next year will probably be able to archive about as much as Force India have this year. Willaims need a good driver and they will likely not be as bad as they currently look. And I expect an improvement next year. It is very unlikely they will drop further back.

      So as I said, i don’t think either Leclerc staying where he is or Ocon going to Williams will be such a bad thing.

      1. That doesn’t sound implausible @thegianthogweed, I’ll go with hoping that it works out that way.

  24. Alonso’s path: Minardi -> Renault -> McLaren
    Sainz’s path: Toro Rosso -> Renault -> McLaren

    1. One of them got two wdc in the middle stint

      1. And jumped into a McLaren which was straight title-worthy. I doubt Sainz could be in that position in a couple of years at McLaren. But somehow the Renault engine is a common factor in all his previous, present and future teams.

  25. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    16th August 2018, 20:29

    Just notices that only 2 teams have both drivers confirmed for next year. Given that we are over half way through the season, there is still an awful lot that could change.

  26. I wonder if Sainz will ever recover from being dumped by Red Bull and even Renault. Seems he will never be champion now.

  27. Interesting theirs been no comment from RBR. Didn’t they still have Sainz under contract?

    Have Mclaren jumped the gun and made an announcement about a signing of someone still under contract like they did James Key?

    I worry for Ocons future – potentially handed off to Williams (or worse being reserve driver for Mercedes) through no fault of his own.

    Lots to play out in the driver market and only 1/2 way thru the season – love it.

  28. I believe he is replacing Vandoorne not Alonso. Zack has been very critical with him recently and the fact that Alonso is still on the payroll of MacLaren suggest that he might do a “Prost” if the car is competitive. He also specifically announced that we won’t be racing F1 next year.

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