Carlos Sainz not confirming Renault switch

Ruben Hill
September 13, 2017

According to Minardi, McLaren-Renault in 2018 is a certainty.

While any confirmation regarding power unit deals is expected later this week, sources have confirmed to RACER that Sainz is poised to leave Toro Rosso and be loaned to Renault, joining Nico Hulkenberg as a replacement for Jolyon Palmer.

The latter is most likely the true motivation behind McLaren's move. Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna's domination of the grid came on Honda power - between them the legendary foes won all but one race in 1988, with the Brazilian coming out on top in that intra-team battle, the first of four-straight drivers' and constructors' doubles. The team have scored points at just two races so far this season.

Red Bull Racing, on the other hand, was amenable to a deal-and a deal was indeed made at last.

Honda's malaise was deepened in July when Sauber reneged on a deal to take their power units from 2018, instead striking a fresh agreement with Ferrari.

The Spaniard has his heart set on moving away from the Red Bull junior team after three seasons and is poised to trigger the merry-go-round which will see McLaren with Renault power and Toro Rosso supplied by Honda fron next season onward.

Now all eyes are on Fernando Alonso to see if this is enough to convince the two-time world champion to remain in Formula 1 with McLaren. Switching to Renault is not going to give McLaren the wins it craves; but, desperate to keep sponsors and a world-class driver in Alonso, McLaren had to choose between potential long-term success with Honda and short-term damage control.

Sainz is expected to end up in the Renault works vehicle, as they seek a competitive edge over McLaren and Red Bull - both capable of putting together much sleeker chassis as it stands.

It revealed that the French manufacturer had agreed to pay the energy drink company Euro 8 million to free Sainz of his contractual obligations with Red Bull, adding that the driver had already done a seat fitting at Enstone last week.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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