Carlos Sainz says he is not hugely disappointed leaving the Red Bull family to join McLaren from the 2019 Formula 1 season.
After Daniel Ricciardo’s decision to switch to Renault to replace Sainz, the Spaniard was left with no seat until the official confirmation from McLaren to hire him in place of Fernando Alonso, who decided to leave the sport.
Sainz was said to be the ideal replacement to Ricciardo alongside Max Verstappen from 2019, but the Spaniard decided to leave the family as well to join the Woking-based team, presumably as its new leader.
This left Red Bull with no other choice but to promote Pierre Gasly to the senior team while the Frenchman is in his first full year in F1 with Toro Rosso. When asked Sainz if there was a disappointment with Red Bull not choosing him, he said:
“I think it’s impossible to be disappointed to be leaving a team to go to McLaren. It’s one of the dreams I had as a kid and to be joining McLaren in the future, it’s impossible to be unhappy.
“Yes, I’ve been part of the Red Bull family for a very long time and I always said that Red Bull was one of my main objectives but as a racing driver, the McLaren family pushes you a lot to that and it is impossible to be disappointed with that.”
Elaborating on the timeline of his decision, he revealed that he had been in talks with McLaren for more than a year now: “As soon as Daniel was announced in Renault, there was obviously a period of time where I didn’t know where I was going to go.
“I had been preparing my options and McLaren has been one of them for a long time now. I have been in touch with the McLaren management for a year or two now. Because of that I was very calm about the situation.
“I just had to wait to see what happened and take my own decision. In the end it turned out to be good. I’m about to leave the Red Bull family in a good way. I owe pretty much my Formula 1 career to them.
“Thanks to them at the moment I am going to McLaren, because they put me into Formula 1 and I have been able to do a career thanks to them. I think I am opening a new chapter next year; my first two-year deal with the team and I just cannot wait.”
While Sainz is in McLaren, his teammate confirmation is yet to come with Stoffel Vandoorne and Lando Norris the most likely candidates but several other driver moves in the paddock could bring in few more drivers in the frame.