The 23-year-old driver has signed a multi-year deal with the British squad and will compete in F1 for the fifth season next year.
Sainz’s future in the sport was uncertain after Daniel Ricciardo unexpectedly took his seat at the Renault F1 team. With Pierre Gasly tipped to fill Ricciardo’s vacant seat at Red Bull Racing, it looked as if Sainz would have nowhere to go. That is until Alonso confirmed 2018 will be his last year in Formula One.
Speaking about the signing, McLaren Racing chief executive Zak Brown said Sainz is a welcome addition to the outfit.
“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.”
Sainz has long admired Alonso and said that it will be a pleasure to fill his seat at the team.
“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.”
It remains to be seen who Sainz will race alongside at McLaren, as it’s rumored that Stoffel Vandoorne might lose his seat for 2019.