Carlos Sainz says talks over renewing his McLaren contract have already started as he is eager to secure his long-term future at the team.

The Spaniard joined McLaren at the start of 2019, effectively replacing two-time F1 world champion and fellow countryman Fernando Alonso, and as part of the team’s surge up the pecking order he impressed by taking sixth place in the drivers’ world championship highlighted by his maiden F1 podium with third place at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Both Sainz and teammate Lando Norris renewed their F1 contracts for 2020 early into last season and the 25-year-old is keen to do something similar this year.

“Obviously it’s not a secret that I’m very happy here at McLaren,” Sainz said at the McLaren team launch. “There’s obviously been some things going on in the background, we started to talk already, but we’re going to take it easy as we’re in February, so there’s no rush at all.

“But I’m not going to hide that I’m very happy here, I have a lot of faith in this project and the way it’s panning out at the minute.”

Pressed on deciding its 2021 F1 driver line-up, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says he’s in no rush to decide on its drivers but is content with the progress both Sainz and Norris have made.

“First of all we would always like clarity as soon as possible, especially on this topic,” Seidl explained at the McLaren team launch. “There’s no rush to make any decisions or announcements, we’re just going into 2020, we are very happy with Carlos and Lando with what they’ve done last year, it’s important for us as a team to make the next step.

“I’m sure they can also make the next step from the learnings last year, so I don’t think there’s any need to change anything moving ahead.”

So far five F1 drivers have deals which keep them on the grid beyond the end of the 2020 season: Charles Leclerc (until 2024 at Ferrari), Max Verstappen (until 2023 at Red Bull), Sergio Perez (until 2022 at Racing Point), Esteban Ocon (until 2021 at Renault) and George Russell (until 2021 as a Mercedes-backed driver).

 

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