AUGUST 20, 2018
Alonso backs Sainz's McLaren move
Fernando Alonso has backed McLaren's choice of replacement for him.
With the Spaniard deciding to quit F1 at the end of the year, McLaren has signed up his friend, protege and countryman Carlos Sainz to replace him from 2019.
Sainz was linked both to Renault and Red Bull for 2019 but he told Ziggo Sport Totaal that joining McLaren was actually a "no brainer".
"It's a very successful team in formula one with a lot of history," he said. "My future at Red Bull was still unclear but I wanted to become a member of the McLaren family."
Alonso backs the move.
"Carlos has everything he needs to lead a project like McLaren that we hope will continue to improve by the end of the year," he said.
"The problems with the car have been identified for some months now even though many of the solutions cannot be applied now because the 2018 design is done.
"But I think in 2019 it could look completely different," he added. "I think it could be a better year and Carlos has the experience and ability to lead such a project," he continued.
"He is still young and has not been in F1 for many years, but he still has enough experience from Toro Rosso and Renault. That mix could work very well for McLaren," said Alonso.
2009 world champion Jenson Button also backed Sainz's move to McLaren.
"Carlos was performing well at Renault but it's impossible to know if McLaren is a good move for him," he said.
"With Ricciardo coming to Renault he didn't have the option to stay so I think it's the right decision," Button added.
"We'll have to see if McLaren improves next year. It will be difficult for them but it's a great team with many world championships. It could take a while but they can find a way to be great again," he said.