Sainz’s McLaren team mate to be announced in September

2019 F1 season

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McLaren will announce its second driver for the 2019 F1 season in before the end of September.

The team confirmed in a conference call with investors it intends to reveal its driver line-up for next season during the third quarter of this year. It has already announced Carlos Sainz Jnr as its replacement for the outgoing Fernando Alonso.

The future of the team’s current second driver Stoffel Vandoorne remains in doubt. Vandoorne has endured a difficult second full season in Formula 1 during which he has failed to out-qualify Alonso in all of the 13 races so far.

The team replaced his chassis for the Hungarian Grand Prix after a problem was diagnosed on his previous car in the two races leading up to the race. However Vandoorne was slowest in all three practice sessions at Spa, where he suffered further technical problems, and qualified and finished last.

McLaren will run test driver Lando Norris in Vandoorne’s car during the first practice session at Monza tomorrow. This will be Norris’s second outing for the team in a practice session this year. The 18-year-old is the reigning European Formula Three champion and heads into this weekend’s Formula Two round five points behind championship leader George Russell.

Rumours ahead of the Italian Grand Prix suggested Sergio Perez is in discussions to return to McLaren, who he drove for in 2013. However RaceFans understands he has already signed to remain at Force India for next season.

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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32 comments on “Sainz’s McLaren team mate to be announced in September”

  1. I’m on the edge of my seat.

    No, not really.

    1. @proesterchen I’ve seen a user on Motorsport.com with precisely the same username as you. Do you happen to be the same person, LOL?

      1. @Jere A racing fan posting comments on more than one site? That’s unpossible! :-P

        1. @proesterchen – love the Simpsons reference Ralph “The doctor said I would get less nose bleeds if I could just keep my finger out of there!” :)

          I have read some Motorsport.com- some of those comments seem so out of hand I thought it was a UFC forum!

          1. Heh, yeah, that comments section is a cesspool.

    2. @proesterchen I am actually, but it’s just a coincidence

        1. Will the real @proesterchen please stand up.

          1. I’m @proesterchen, and so is my wife!

  2. ”The team replaced his chassis for the Hungarian Grand Prix after a problem was diagnosed on his previous car”
    – Previous ‘chassis/monocoque’ or previous ‘copy’ or ‘one’ to be more precise. The monocoque is only the center part of a single-seater racing car, not technically the same as a ‘complete’ car.

  3. Would be funny if there wasn’t any driver at all that even wanted to go there :-D (in my dreams)

  4. Signing Perez might be the best Zak Brown has done in 2 years.
    Perez typically brings his Slim related sponsorship, which allows Zak to explain it as a commercial masterstroke :P

    1. @coldfly Agree a Perez return would be their best move. Brown also said he didn’t want 2 youngsters in his team to make it likely, but maybe he meant a rookie.

      1. Why would perez want to go to an ex top team in decline, when he experienced the first year of their decline first hand in 2013?

        In his position I’d stay in force india if I can, I heard it was gonna be ocon replaced by stroll.

        1. Stability and money. Who knows what will happen to Racing Point and their decision on drivers, and the team doesn’t even pay him what he’s owed. At McLaren he will make good cash, get a fresh challenge away from baby-sitting the team owner’s kid, and he’s still able to jump should (unlikely) a Ferrari seat come his way.

          And who knows how close McLaren and the new team will get next years, especially if the new team will not get much money from the prize pool next season.

  5. Was reported in Spanish media today that Ocon had a seat fitting this week at mclaren, but he said he was too tall for this year’s car. I think he was going to race for mclaren at Singapore in place of Vandoorne when stroll switches to force India (stroll had a seat fitting at force India this week too. Now I think Ocon will have to wait for next year with mclaren and Vandoorne will see the year out.

  6. There are a number of interesting options, though it seems certain they won’t have a “marquee” signing. I wonder if they could go slightly left-field with it. If it was me, I’d retain Vandoorne to compare him to someone who is not Alonso. I can’t see why they’d go for Ocon over their own young driver; Lando Norris. Perez is an interesting option, but surely at the moment, he’s better off at “Force India” next year. Perhaps Raikkonen, but I don’t see how that makes either party happy, unless he’s a stop-gap for Norris in 2020.

    Vandoorne again for me; but suspect it will be Norris.

    1. @ben-n I would take the same decision than yours and keep Vandoorne (even if what I think has no impact on the team, and that might be better for them).

      I also think that McLaren is missing a development/training team (can’t call it a B team to McLaren). They seem to have great drivers coming up the ranks and then becoming flops in F1 (Magnussen, now Vandoorne and Perez in a lesser measure, not from McLaren academy but brought too soon to the main team). Are they putting too much pressure, expectation, others… to make them underperform instead of pushing them up and revealing the best in them. Hence the need for a development team.

      If they bring Norris in, I fear the history will repeat itself. Stick with Vandoorne and polish him, he has the speed, the racecraft and soon won’t be in Alonso’s shadow…

      1. @ben-n
        They may opt for Ocon over Norris just to help in car development with Sainz. Sainz has done 4 years now, Ocon 2, not bad experience but no Alonso (or Button and co) that done so many years and know how to develop a car much better than a rookie or a guy with a few years in the car.

        Norris looks good of course buy maybe not just yet? Ocon for me, but this silly season has been VERY silly :)

      2. I sure would like to see Vandoorne do it last one more year. And if it’s McLaren or nothing then hopefully they keep him. He hasn’t performed as expected this year however according to Belgian media 2 people, including Prodromou, would have said that the car didn’t suit his driving style at all and given that McLaren seems to have decided it was too flawed to justify any investment he has no chance for it to change.
        It was also telling that in his French interview after Spa Vandoorne said that they didn’t even bother with quali setup in FP.

        Now I don’t want to see Ocon out either. But anyway it doesn’t look like a good team to be in next year even though I expect them to make some small progress.

  7. In their shoes I’d go with Vandoorne, mainly because he was sufficiently good in the junior categories to warrant another chance as something other than a No. 2 to the best driver around. And he’d be a good benchmark for Sainz, while a bit of continuity never hurt.

    Perez would be bonkers to leave Force India for McLaren at the moment so if the option to stay put with Stroll & Son remains on his table, I think he’ll take it.

    Norris hasn’t exactly done a Leclerc (or even a Vandoorne…) in GP2/F2 and he doesn’t stand out as being F1-ready, so I’d give him another year of development or sell him to Toro Rosso in exchange for something James Key related. It’d probably benefit Norris if they did let him go – McLaren haven’t done well with a young driver since Hamilton, and if he’s actually good there’s a chance to progress to a likely race-winning car with Red Bull.

    Ocon is interesting but there seems little reason for McLaren to take someone else’s guy. Still too much pride for that, so he’d need to split with Mercedes and I don’t think he’d do that.

    Can’t see it being anyone outside those four.

  8. Are we absolutely sure the conference call was about a team mate and not a team manager? Those confcalls tend to be scrambled a bit sometimes. The latter seems more stringent is why …

  9. this seems to mean it’s not Vandoorne unless the spectacularly screw up signing his replacement (my money’s on norris)

  10. I wonder what Sainz thinks about who his team mate should be, as his 2019 peformance will be based on whoever is in the other car. I’m sure he would be happier if it was still Vandoorne (who looked like his future team mate at the time of signing), rather than Perez who has previous experience with the team, greater financial backing and more races under his belt.

  11. Whatever happens I want Vandoorne to have a seat next season. He has been mistreated this season by McLaren and it would be good to see him in a competitive car (Sauber).

  12. Apparently the reason Ocon won’t join mid-season is he didn’t fit the McLaren chassis, and without Ocon in a seat Toto Wolff basically put the entire rider merry-go-round on hold.

  13. I think as I said a couple of days ago Perez going to McLaren would keep both McLaren and Force India happy. That way Ocon could stay at Force India alongside Stroll. This would satisfy Mercedes as well.

    I expect McLaren’s next most favoured option is Ocon. As McLaren’s engine supplier this would please Renault. There were rumours of Ocon going to Renault before Ricciardo’s announcement.

    As for Vandoorne maybe Williams can be encouraged to take him? With a little arm twisting by Mercedes? I expect Merc would rather have Ocon in their camp somewhere though rather than at McLaren. Ocon is going to end up in one of the two.

    1. I’m not sure I’ve even seen vandoorne linked with mercedes, so don’t see why they would persuade williams to get him, surely kubica should be the number 1 choice for williams if stroll goes to force india.

      And also why would perez sacrifice himself and go to a decaying top team he already experienced first hand in 2013 to make force india and mercedes happy? He isn’t even a mercedes junior.

  14. Lol @ McLaren, it’s the car that is the problem not Vandoorne, if they sign Norris I’d really wonder wth is going on at the team, Vandoorne was a much more dominating driver in GP2 than Norris in F1, Norris seems to be running a Keke Rosberg campaign in F2 atm . Just give Vandoorne a damn car that works and have the team behind him instead of all Alonso or nothing, and reap the rewards.

    1. However sometimes a driver isn’t as good as their junior record shows, despite hulkenberg not having had the car schumacher had I think most would agree he’s a superior driver, even some of his haters I suppose, however hulkenberg had a better junior record than everyone, including MSC, so take it with a grain of salt.

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