Renault Formula 1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has paid tribute to Carlos Sainz Jr. following confirmation of the Spaniard's move to McLaren for 2019, calling him a "great contributor".

Renault confirmed Sainz would be departing the team after announcing the signing of Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull earlier this month to partner Nico Hulkenberg from next season.

Sainz was known to be under option at Red Bull, making his a candidate to replace Ricciardo, but was instead named by McLaren as its replacement for the outgoing Fernando Alonso on Thursday.

 

In a message posted to Renault's official F1 Twitter account, Abiteboul thanked Sainz for his efforts since making his debut with the French marque at last year's United States Grand Prix following his late-season switch from Toro Rosso.

"Despite an unusual situation, through his relentless work and natural talent, Carlos has been a great contributor to the progress made by the team since joining us last year," Abiteboul said.

"I wish him the best for 2019 onwards with his now-confirmed move to McLaren; for now we all look forward to the second part of the season together."

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