Former McLaren driver Carlos Sainz believes the team has progressed since he joined them from Renault two years ago and that after two great years they have a lot more confidence, and he wished them all the best in the future because they deserve it.

After three mediocre seasons with Honda from 2015 to the end of 2017, McLaren had only a slightly better season with Renault in 2018, which they finished in sixth place, but they finished the year with the second slowest car, faster only than the last Williams.

But McLaren was much more competitive in 2019 when they finished fourth ahead of their engine supplier Renault while in 2020 they managed to finish third thanks to their consistent points scoring and great reliability, beating Racing Point who had a faster car.

In both seasons at McLaren, Sainz finished sixth in the drivers ‘standing, and McLaren’s third place in the constructors’ rankings in 2020 is their best placement since 2012, when they also finished third, albeit with seven wins and eight pole positions.

“The team has evolved and matured a lot, but the motivation and good atmosphere have been there since the first day I joined the team at the end of 2018,” Sainz said.

“It’s something I admired most about McLaren, the fact that even after a tough 2018 they were in a good mood, everyone was motivated and it immediately gave me a good feeling.”

2020 Portugal GP Bottas battle Sainz Photo McLaren
Bottas and Sainz battle for the lead at the 2020 Portugese GP (Photo: McLaren)

“The team is currently in the same position when it comes to good mood, the motivation is good, but I think everyone has a lot more confidence now.”

“The last two years have given the teams a lot of confidence, knowing that the team is progressing and going in the right direction.”

“For my part, I’m proud to have been a part of it and I wish the team all the best in the future because they deserve it.”

Sainz moved to Ferrari on the eve of 2021 and will become the first Spaniard in that team since Alonso 2014 who made a reverse transfer from Ferrari to McLaren at the end of that season.

“I’ll leave a lot of good friends,” Sainz commented on his departure from McLaren.

“It’s hard to pick one thing [that he’s going to miss the most], isn’t it? But in the end you spend a lot of time in F1 teams, you travel the world together and you end up having different relationships.”

“If I’m going to take one thing from McLaren then it’s a lot of good friends, people I’ve enjoyed racing with more than ever.”

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