In Brief

F1 2019 driver line-ups: who will replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren?

The Spaniard’s retirement could spark a driver merry-go-round in Formula 1

Following Fernando Alonso’s announcement that he is to retire from Formula 1 the focus is on who will replace him at McLaren next year.

The two-time world champion’s departure after 17 seasons leaves an empty seat at McLaren that could spark a driver merry-go-round.

Here we take a look at the latest driver news and how the F1 grid could line up next year:

Sainz to McLaren?

Sky Sports and ESPN report that Carlos Sainz is the favourite to replace Alonso. ESPN understands that a deal for Sainz could be announced later this week.

Sainz is currently on loan at Renault but is contracted to Red Bull, who need to find their own replacement for Daniel Ricciardo. If Sainz joins McLaren, this could mean Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly stepping up for Red Bull next year.

But Sky adds that although Sainz is strongly linked with McLaren, he could be recalled by Red Bull to replace Renault-bound Ricciardo.

McLaren’s driver line-up for next year is uncertain given that Alonso is retiring and there’s speculation that out-of-form Stoffel Vandoorne could be dropped. ESPN suggests that Sainz could be joined at McLaren by junior driver Lando Norris.

Stroll to Force India?

Williams driver Lance Stroll is likely to move to Force India after his father Lawrence Stroll led a consortium to take over the F1 team. Should Lance Stroll join Force India, Esteban Ocon or Sergio Perez would be left without a drive next year.

F1 2019 driver line-up

How the grid could look next year, according to

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas

World champion Hamilton recently announced a new deal until 2020. Mercedes also have an option to extend Bottas’s contract until 2020.

Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen/Charles Leclerc

Ferrari ace Vettel is going nowhere but he could be joined next year by Sauber’s Leclerc as a replacement for Raikkonen.

Red Bull: Max Verstappen and TBC

Verstappen will have a new teammate in 2019 after Daniel Ricciardo signed for Renault. Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly are both linked with the vacant Red Bull seat.

Force India: TBC

As stated, Lance Stroll could join Force India next year. Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez are currently with Force India but another option is George Russell, the 20-year-old British driver who competes in Formula 2.

Williams: TBC

Williams’s 2019 spots are up in the air with Lance Stroll linked with Force India. Sergey Sirotkin could be retained.

Renault: Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo

Renault’s 2019 drivers are confirmed. Ricciardo will join Hulkenberg.

Toro Rosso: TBC

Toro Rosso could see current driver Pierre Gasly move to senior team Red Bull. Brendon Hartley and Lando Norris are possibles for 2019.

Haas: TBC

Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean are currently driving for Haas. But Sergio Perez is an option.

Alfa Romeo Sauber: TBC

If Charles Leclerc joins Ferrari he could be replaced by Kimi Raikkonen. Marcus Ericsson is currently Leclerc’s Sauber teammate.

McLaren: TBC

There will be no Fernando Alonso next season. suggests three drivers are in contention for the two McLaren spots: Stoffel Vandoorne, Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz.


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