Testing – Carlos Sainz started work with his new employers on Wednesday, testing for McLaren at Yas Marina.
Having been given permission by Renault to begin work with Renault customer team McLaren ahead of the end of his contract, Sainz togged out in McLaren gear on Wednesday and got his first drive of the 2018 MCL33 – ironically the last day of use for the car.
Having spent the morning learning different settings and the different controls on the McLaren, he slowly ramped up his pace and mileage to clock up 150 laps over the day. He finished P5 on the timing sheets with a best time of 1:38.547, just over two seconds off the ultimate pace, set by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
“Going out of the garage today on my first day as a McLaren driver was pretty much a dream come true. When I finally completed my first run I felt extremely good, and I must say it’s been a very straightforward day.” said Sainz, who replaced compatriot Fernando Alonso for 2019.
“The team has made me feel at home from lap one and from day one yesterday when I started working with them. I did a lot of laps today and I’m grateful to the team for giving me such a reliable car to be able to initiate me in this new chapter and new style of car.”
“From the first lap to the 150th lap, I enjoyed them all; the feeling was good and we’ve been able to end the season in the best way possible. As soon as I got out of the box I felt comfortable in the car. Of course, there are always going to be details to improve and new things to adapt to, like the seat and the driving style, but from the first lap I could spend time adapting and getting to know all the new controls and procedures. It’s been great.”
“It’s been an intense few days after the race finished here in Abu Dhabi, learning a lot of names and understanding how the car works. I’m looking forward to spending more time back at the factory over the winter getting to know the team better and preparing as much as we can for 2019.”
Sporting Director Gil De Ferran welcomed the Spaniard onboard as he said the day was just about getting to know how each side worked:
“Today was an exciting day for the whole team, to have a completely new driver in the car. The main goal today was familiarisation with each other, which we achieved in spades.
“We completed a great number of miles and performed all the tests required by Pirelli.
“In closing, on this, the last day that our Formula 1 car will turn a wheel this year, I’d like to officially welcome Carlos to the team, and once again thank everyone that has contributed to the enormous effort put in during the 2018 season.