McLaren has confirmed that it has signed Carlos Sainz on a multi-year deal to race for them in 2019 and beyond
The widely anticipated news means Sainz replaces two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who announced on Tuesday that he is retiring from the sport at the end of the current season.
“We’re incredibly excited to have Carlos join us as a McLaren driver," said McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
"We’ve been assessing him for some time now and 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. 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.
“It’s no secret that Carlos is a huge admirer of Fernando’s, and it’s fitting that he will be stepping into his seat as a Spaniard with a legendary name in motorsport.
"We think he’ll be a great fit for McLaren and we’re really excited to have him join us from next season and beyond.”
Sainz made his bow in Formula 1 in 2015 with the Toro Rosso team. This season he has been out on loan to Renault. However the French squad has confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo will join them next season, which had left Sainz without a seat for 2019.
Today's announcement means that Sainz will have a spot on the grid next year and for several more to come.
“I’m delighted to finally be able to confirm that I’ll be a McLaren driver from the 2019 season.
"It’s something I’ve been looking at for a while and I’m very excited about this next chapter in my career.
“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."
The team has not yet said who will be joining Sainz next season. Current driver Stoffel Vandoorne will need to prove his worth if he's to maintain his seat over the likes of test and reserve driver Lando Norris.