McLaren announced the signing of Carlos Sainz in a multi-year deal as the replacement to Fernando Alonso from the 2019 Formula 1 season.

Following the decision of Alonso to quit F1 at the end of the 2018 season, Sainz was speculated to be his replacement in the Woking-based outfit. Even before Alonso’s announcement, Sainz remained linked to the team.

It has now been confirmed by McLaren that Sainz will join the squad in a multi-year deal from the 2019 season. “I’m delighted to finally be able to confirm that I’ll be a McLaren driver from the 2019 season,” he said.

“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. Finally, I’d like to thank everyone at McLaren for giving me this opportunity to fulfil a childhood dream.

“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.” The Spaniard joins the team from Renault, who signed Daniel Ricciardo alongside Nico Hulkenberg.

“We’re incredibly excited to have Carlos join us as a McLaren driver,” said 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.”

His teammate will be announced in a due course of time. It remains to be seen if Stoffel Vandoorne is retained or the team brings in Lando Norris to start afresh in 2019. The move from Sainz seemingly ends his association with Red Bull as well.

His contract with the company was penned until September end this year, but with him moving to McLaren and not the senior Red Bull team alongside Max Verstappen, it could mean he will no longer be part of the Red Bull academy.