Carlos Sainz 'high up' on McLaren's driver list - Zak Brown
McLaren's Zak Brown has admitted Carlos Sainz is "high up" on the team's potential 2019 driver list should they need to replace either Fernando Alonso or Stoffel Vandoorne.
With Alonso's future uncertain, given his desire to compete in IndyCar to complete motorsport's unofficial 'Triple Crown' by winning the Indianapolis 500 alongside his Monaco GP and Le Mans victories, and Vandoorne underperforming, the team's driver line-up could see a major shake-up next year.
Speaking before Daniel Ricciardo announced his switch from Red Bull to Renault – replacing Sainz – Brown admitted the Spaniard would be a target for the McLaren team, which also tried to sign Ricciardo.
"We think Carlos is an excellent race car driver," Brown said in Hungary. "Carlos is potentially on the market, I don’t know his exact situation at Renault and Red Bull, but he is certainly someone [you'd want], when you go down the shortlist of drivers that you consider putting in your race car if he was free.
"If we had a [vacant] seat, he would certainly be high up on our consideration list."
McLaren also have two junior drivers of their own to consider in Formula 2's Lando Norris and Nyck de Vries. The latter is also under consideration for a race seat, but it's believed he is out of contract from the end of September if McLaren don't promote him, though Brown suggested that wasn't the case.
"We think Lando is obviously a future star. When you have a driver like Lando you want to keep him in the family. What’s been reported [on his contract situation] I wouldn’t say is as black and white as what’s been said."
Brown said that De Vries wasn't on their shortlist, adding: "Nyck has been with us sometime, he’s one of our simulator drivers and we’re a big supporter of Nyck.
"We have a variety of different racing activities in the future so he’s someone we’d like to keep in the family but I wouldn’t say he’s someone under heavy consideration for our Formula 1 team at this point."