Carlos Sainz Jr: McLaren F1 presentation shows recovery possible

Carlos Sainz Jr says a presentation McLaren made when he arrived at the team convinced him it knows how to return to the front of the Formula 1 grid

Carlos Sainz Jr: McLaren F1 presentation shows recovery possible

A fundamental aerodynamic problem hindered its MCL33 car in a year in which McLaren was convinced it would begin its recovery following a disastrous alliance with Honda.

McLaren has diagnosed the problem and is continuing to reorganise the team's structure. Sainz says there are signs McLaren can recover.

"I don't see a lot of scratching heads," said Sainz, speaking at a launch event for the new OnePlus 6T McLaren smartphone at Woking.

"I see they have a very clear picture of what has happened, and why, and the way we need to improve.

"When I got here, they made me an explanation and presentation of what happened - so for me it was very positive to see how there are some clear minds out there, and strong leadership, to see where we are going."

Sainz does not expect an immediate turnaround for McLaren.

"Whether it is going to work or not next year, this we don't know," he said.

"We know we have a direction, we have an analysis. It is going to take time. That is everything I can say.

"It is still not going to be night and day, and it is still going to be a process in the years ahead, but I am happy to be part of this process.

"I am proud of this team, because I think I can be a good help, and I can improve with them altogether."

Sainz admitted that he expected McLaren's morale to be low following its struggles in 2018, but that it proved not to be the case.

"Probably on the back of my mind I thought maybe I would find a team that wishes that its season is over and we go for next year," he said.

"But actually I have found a team that is full of battery, even in November/December.

"It is full of will to go racing next year, and that is an immediately contagious thing.

"It [the energy] gets really well through everyone in the team and through me.

"I was coming full of energy and batteries - and it has made me even more [determined] than I thought to [come to] Woking, to make sure that I cover all the areas before we go racing next year."

Asked if he believed McLaren had the ingredients to win in F1 again, Sainz said: "I think the team has the tools but Mercedes has set a new bar to everyone.

"Every team that is not Mercedes right now is playing catch up.

"They have set a new benchmark to all the F1 teams, the way they work and perform to get to the level they are, which is simply incredible at the moment.

"That is why there is not a lot of rush, but there is a commitment to improve McLaren and to make it first a solid midfield car and then do a step.

"And that is our short-term, mid-term plan.

"Hopefully one day this team, and hopefully I am still here, goes back to where it belongs."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams McLaren
Author Jonathan Noble
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