Carlos Sainz has been named as Fernando Alonso’s successor at McLaren.
Two-time world champion Alonso announced on Tuesday that he had decided to leave McLaren and “move on” from F1 at the end of the season and Sainz will now replace his fellow Spaniard for the 2019 Formula One campaign.
“I’m delighted to finally be able to confirm that I’ll be a McLaren driver from the 2019 season,” Sainz said on the team’s official website.
“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.”
Sainz, 23, began in F1 at Toro Rosso in 2015 after starting his motorsport career in karting and moving on to Formula BMW, Formula Three, GP3 and Formula Renault 3.5.
He moved to Renault at the end of the 2017 season and is currently 11th in the world championship standings.
“It’s particularly special that I’ll be taking his (Alonso’s) seat as part of the next generation of Spanish racing drivers behind the wheel of a McLaren,” Sainz said.
“The team has a long-term plan for the future and I’m very much looking forward to playing a key role in its journey back to success.”
McLaren Racing chief executive officer Zak Brown said: “We’re incredibly excited to have Carlos join us as a McLaren driver.
“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.”
McLaren will announce its full driver line-up for the 2019 season in due course.