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Sainz feels 'powerful' leading McLaren in 2019

  • Published on 08 Dec 2018 16:39
  • comments 8
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Carlos Sainz admits that he is feeling powerful heading into his maiden season with McLaren. The Spaniard will be the senior driver at the team, as he will partner Lando Norris who will make his debut in 2019.

The upcoming season will be Sainz's fifth in F1, having made his debut in 2015 with Toro Rosso. After almost three seasons with the Red Bull junior team, he joined Renault towards the end of 2017, before competing the full 2018 campaign with the Enstone squad.

Following Fernando Alonso's announcement that he would be walking away from the sport after 2018, McLaren soon moved to confirm Sainz. Despite being just 24 years of age, Sainz will be the more experienced racer at the Woking outfit, meaning his feedback will be very valuable to the team next year.

“It feels good, it feels in a way powerful,” Sainz told Autosport. “I’m going to arrive at McLaren in my fifth year in Formula 1. I’ve gone through two teams, and I still have that World Series [Formula Renault 3.5] championship fresh in my mind. So I’m going in with that confidence and a lot of knowledge.

"When you work for two different teams, with very different characteristics of car balance, of set-up, like it was at Toro Rosso and Renault, I think I’ve been at the two extremes of car balance. Because of that I’m going to McLaren with a lot of knowledge and wanting to also lead, and follow a direction with them that is hopefully a good one.”

Sainz struggled throughout the 2018 season to find a balance between good qualifying and race pace at Renault. But he says that the experience has taught him "a lot" for future experiences.

"I’ve learned a lot,” Sainz continued. “I’ve gone very different routes on set-ups to try and optimise this [2018] car. Also this year, I’ve been caught out in races while trying to experiment to try and find something extra on the car.

“So it has been a big learning year for me in that way, because I’ve been really focused in trying to improve the car I have. I think I’ve done a lot of progress in that sense also. It’s going be a good experience for me and for McLaren in the future."

Replies (8)

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  • I like Sainz. But he needs to be nothing less than a super star next year. I haven't been too impressed with Carlos the last 12 months. He will lead McLaren so long as he is finishing consistently ahead of Lando.

    • + 0
    • Dec 8 2018 - 17:03
    • Kind of hard to be impressed when he was consistently behind the Hulk, wasn't it? Will be interesting to see how he does next year, but not expecting big things considering the car he's in...

      • + 0
      • Dec 9 2018 - 04:25
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,160

      That second seat in the Renault team isn't great. What would be interesting to know see is how Ricciardo gets on with having the lead there versus Hulk.

      There is something of an self sabotaging attitude with Sainz which is quite similar to the attitude that Alonso had. He was outclassed by Verstappen, OK against Kyvat, just about OK against Hulk. For me he has the same ability as the likes Perez or Hulk. Not sure if I rate him enough to lead the mcLaren back to the top. He will need an very strong year to reset peoples viewpooint on him.

      • + 0
      • Dec 9 2018 - 08:22
  • blade

    Posts: 341

    Not expecting big things as I don't think he's a top driver - let's see - Lando is fast - those guys got to give them a chance by not building the worst car on the grid - again !

    • + 0
    • Dec 9 2018 - 07:12
  • Sainz seems talented enough to be a top driver but also seems too preoccupied with what everybody else around him thinks of him, about his position in relation to others and his team etc. etc. etc. Not sufficiently focused on becoming a driving force to be reckoned with, therefore ... until that changes, no hope of improvement. And I don't think Carlos senior is helping him much in that direction either .... Unlike another father-son pairing currently active in F1 and thereabouts, rather.

    • + 0
    • Dec 9 2018 - 13:29
  • Kean

    Posts: 597

    Hulk beat him this year, sure, but stats suggest it was rather close between them. Quali stat 13-8 to Hulk, but race stat is 11-10 to Sainz (in part thanks to Hulks 7 dnf's compared to Sainz 2), points finishes 13-11 to Sainz. Hulk finishes ahead thanks to bigger points haul when he did finish in the points. Anyway, looking at McLaren's options I think Sainz is the best available driver, the drivers I rate higher than Sainz (Ham, Ver, Ric, Vet, Lec, Hul, Per) all had better options. I guess Ocon could potentially be a faster option than Sainz, too bad Wolff wont let go of him.

    • + 0
    • Dec 9 2018 - 16:44
  • xoya

    Posts: 450

    You feel powerful now, but wait 'till you finish out of points constantly when the season begins.

    • + 0
    • Dec 10 2018 - 08:17
    • Sadly I really dont expect McLaren to improve all that much for next season. Their ranks will rely solely on how much STR will be used as a test mule, how much STR's RB parts will be worth on track, how much Sauber will be able to retain their steamrolling momentum, how much HAAS can benefit from Ferrari's parts, how bad Williams will be for next year, and whether or not Force India can keep it up. Renault, I think, is a safe card as being at least top 5 material, since they are a works team with a very good lineup.

      • + 0
      • Dec 10 2018 - 19:58
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