Carlos Sainz has warned against McLaren setting any targets before the start of pre-season testing as he aims to lead the Formula 1 team’s resurgence in 2019.

Sainz was on hand to help unveil McLaren’s MCL34 F1 car ahead of the 2019 F1 world championship, alongside rookie teammate Lando Norris, at the team’s launch presentation at its Woking base.

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After its first year in partnership with Renault power units, having ditched Honda following three disastrous seasons, McLaren under delivered on its targets of reaching the podium in 2018. With an underperforming car, McLaren’s best result of the year was Fernando Alonso’s fifth place at the opener in Australia.

Sainz was keen to calm McLaren’s expectations and wants a solid preparation from pre-season testing before setting any targets for this season.

“I think it would be a big mistake to set ourselves goals at this stage of the year,” Sainz said. “I think we’ve set our goal to be more prepared this year and do our homework better at the start of the season. Hopefully that pays off.

“I’ve seen an incredible amount of work back at the factory these two months and we saw the fire up a week ago and every single worker in the factory was there wanting to see it and wanting the new car to come alive. You can see everyone is excited and can see everyone has put a lot of hard work and effort into this car and that is important.

“Now we need to go testing and see where the car is. From then, we can start to go little by little, step by step.”

Sainz’s teammate Norris echoed his thoughts with the long-term focus of returning McLaren back to the sharp-end of the grid to fight for wins and titles. McLaren’s last F1 win counts back to the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix with Jenson Button.

“With the position we are in as a team at the moment, I think if we want to be back winning races and winning championships with McLaren the most important thing is that we work together as a team to get back to that point,” Norris said. “Then we can have some more battles [as teammates] when we are racing for podiums and hopefully wins.

“But until that point we’ve got to keep working together like we have been doing over the winter. Seeing the whole team and how are they have worked and the amount of hours they’ve put in is second to none.”

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