McLaren keen to avoid teams 'sniffing around' with early 2020 driver call

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

McLaren decided to confirm Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz for 2020 to eliminate speculation of interest from other teams.

 On Tuesday, the British team made what is a rather early public announcement that their drivers would be staying for next season, this despite both already being signed on to multi-year deals.

This as McLaren enjoy a much-improved 2019 campaign, currently sitting fourth in the Constructors' standings, 20 points clear of Renault.

“It was always the plan,” CEO Zak Brown told the BBC. 

“A lot of teams were sniffing around, a lot of teams are unhappy with both their drivers and given how Carlos and Lando were doing it was in our best interest to eliminate any speculation.”

Also Read:

While Sainz has shown his experience and is proving a great replacement for Fernando Alonso, McLaren hailed the impact Norris has made in his rookie season.

“What he has shown from the first race onwards in qualifying and the races plus all the work he is doing outside the car is impressive for an F1 rookie and it was quite a straightforward decision,” team boss Andreas Seidl said.

“We want to develop together. They are two top drivers for the future and hopefully, we can make the same progress on the team side giving them the right machine to execute out there on the race track.”

Commenting on the announcement, the 19-year-old admits it changes nothing going forward.

“It’s good news that I’m going to be here again next year but at the same time, it wasn’t something I was worried about or pushing for or anything," he told Reuters.

“It wasn’t like I needed the confidence to be able to drive better. I was having good fun, I was relaxed and I’m not going to act any differently to what I was.

“I wasn’t nervous, like ‘am I going to be here next year?’ or anything.”

The F2 graduate does admit he has been surprised by how quickly he has settled into F1, with four top 10s to his name so far.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” he said. “I didn’t expect anything at all.

“I wanted to see how it was going to go. I would say it’s gone better than I anticipated.

“I’m very happy with how I’ve done so far, but there’s still a lot of progress I need to do and make until I’m where I should be.”