Formula 1

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McLaren have already picked Fernando Alonso's replacement for next season

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Reports suggest that Carlos Sainz will be announced as McLaren's replacement for Fernando Alonso later this week. 

Sainz has been racing for Renault on loan from Red Bull after being unable to secure a step up to the senior team from Torro Rosso.

The Spaniard has impressed during his time at Renault and has caught the eye of McLaren, according to ESPN.

McLaren boss Zak Brown has made no secret of his admiration for Sainz and said after the Hungarian Grand Prix, via GPFans: "We think Carlos is an excellent race car driver.

"Carlos is potentially on the market.

"I don't know his exact situation at Renault and Red Bull, but he is certainly someone, when you go down the shortlist of drivers that you consider putting in your race car if he was free.

"If we had a seat, he would certainly be high up on our consideration list."

Following Alonso's announcement that he won't race in 2019, it would appear that Sainz is now top of the list for McLaren following Daniel Ricciardo's decision to move to Renault. 

The F1 driver merry-go-round is such that Ricciardo's decision means he will replace Sainz as Nico Hulkenberg's teammate next season, while leaving an opportunity open for Sainz to move to McLaren.

AUTO-F1-PRIX-HUN-PRESS

Sainz's move would in-turn mean that it was likely that Pierre Gasly would make the step up to Red Bull from Torro Rosso to partner Max Verstappen in 2019.

The identity of Sainz's potential McLaren teammate is also in flux with Stoffel Vandoorne having underwhelmed so far this season - the Belgian has been out-qualified by Alonso in all races in 2018. 

If the out-of-form Vandoorne is dropped by the team, ESPN claims that junior driver Lando Norris would be a candidate to replace him.

In the hours following Alonso's announcement, Norris tweeted a gif with a one word caption: "Interesting."

Elsewhere, Lawrence Stroll's recent acquisition of Force India makes it likely that his son Lance will make the move from Williams to join his father, meaning Esteban Ocon or Sergio Perez will be looking for a race seat elsewhere next season

Topics:
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Fernando Alonso
McLaren
Formula 1

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