As Carlos Sainz adapts to life at McLaren in 2019 the Spaniard is aiming to pick up advice from his fellow countryman Fernando Alonso who he replaces at the Formula 1 team this season.

With Alonso aiming to complete the Triple Crown of Motorsport as he returns to the Indianapolis 500 with McLaren in May, the two-time F1 world champion has opted to leave the sport which triggered the deal for Sainz to arrive at the Woking-based team after one season at Renault on loan from Red Bull.

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Sainz will remain a close friend to Alonso following his departure from F1 and is keen to pick up advice and information from the 37-year-old as he adapts to McLaren.

Sainz began his official McLaren work this week at the team’s Woking factory as he steps up his pre-season preparations ahead of testing in Barcelona next month.

“It is strange to say goodbye to such a talent driver in his prime,” Sainz said during Alonso’s final F1 race. “It is strange but we will try to have the best possible fun here in Abu Dhabi in our last race together in Formula 1. I’m sure I’ll be in touch with him a lot in the future.

“I look forward to meeting him after the race to ask him a few questions. Using him a bit not as an F1 driver but more as a friend.”

Sainz will join new teammate Lando Norris at McLaren’s 2019 F1 team launch on February 14 ahead of the start of pre-season testing at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on February 18.

The 24-year-old will begin the fifth F1 season of his career having spent over two-and-a-half seasons at Toro Rosso before his Renault switch in late 2017. Sainz will be relied on as the lead driver at McLaren given his experience of 81 race starts alongside rookie F1 teammate Norris.

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