Carlos Sainz has played down claims McLaren is ‘copying’ Red Bull’s chassis concept for 2019.
With Red Bull moving to Honda power, some have observed that McLaren will now clearly emulate key principles of the Red Bull car that was so effective this year with customer Renault engines.
“I think it’s very straightforward to say that the team is copying a chassis,” Sainz, McLaren’s new Spanish driver for 2019, said.
“I’m sure there are ideas from all the teams that McLaren has looked at, but that happens in formula one and in all the categories that I have raced in.”
However, the Spaniard – who moves from the works Renault team – said he is sure McLaren will get the same chance to shine with Renault customer power.
“The engine is the same, and when I tested that car I could prove that it is the same as is in the Renault. So that doesn’t bother me,” said Sainz.
“I am convinced that Renault gives the same weapons to McLaren that they give for their own cars. I’m not worried for next year that we will not have good equipment.”
He said McLaren has “learned a lot from the mistakes that were made” with the 2018 car.
“That’s why I see everyone very impatient for next year to arrive,” Sainz said.
But that doesn’t mean he expects McLaren to build a fully competitive car for 2019.
“Competitive car? It depends on what you call competitive,” said Sainz.
“If you call competitive fighting for a world championship, I think as formula one is today it’s very early even for podiums.
“But if a competitive car means trying to lead the middle zone, I think that is the goal that McLaren has set. It doesn’t mean we will do it next year, but it is a goal and I think it is realistic,” he added. “I will try not to be far away from that.”