Departed McLaren driver Carlos Sainz believes his former team will "hit the ground running" in 2022 when Formula 1 ushers in its new set of regulations.
Sainz has left the Woking-based outift after two seasons to answer Ferrari's calling. But the Spaniard believes he is leaving behind a flourishing team that will only continue to grow in the future.
"The group of people here is as strong as it can get," Sainz told Motorsport.com at the end of the 2020 season
"There's still a bit of a long way to go on car performance. We're still losing one second to Mercedes per lap.
"But at the same time, I think the team is forming really nicely into 2022, which is the big regulation change, when I think this team is going to be ready to hit the ground running.
"The team will have a much more specific and established structure. The people here I think are going to be a lot more established.
"It's going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future, I think."
Sainz said that his easy integration at McLaren at the end of 2018 as well as his great relationship with teammate Lando Norris were rooted in the fact that it was a new dawn for both the team and its drivers at the time.
"We started off from zero in 2018, so there were no expectations, there were no real hard feelings from anyone," Sainz said.
"Lando and I got on really well, but then also working with the team, I immediately felt at home, and I immediately felt that the group of people there were incredibly motivated, incredibly proud to be part of McLaren.
"They really wanted the team to move forward. Everyone put together all their efforts, and that momentum carried through the first year into the second year.
"It's just easier, when you are on an upward trend like we've been on these two years, and the momentum keeps building, the relationships keep getting better, and the team keeps improving.
"I'm very proud of having been part of it. It's definitely a memory I will take with me forever in my career."