Carlos Sainz says a contagious atmosphere of optimism at McLaren has motivated him to visit the team more often than expected to prepare for 2019.
McLaren finished sixth in the constructors’ championship this year but faded as the season went on, with the majority of its points coming in the opening rounds. Sainz will form an all-new driver pairing with Lando Norris next season, and speaking at the launch of the OnePlus McLaren 6T handset at the team’s headquarters — the first appearance for the 2019 line-up together — the Spaniard says he’s enjoying working with his new team.
“I’ve been here already a few times after the test and to be honest, it feels great,” Sainz said. “I still have many people to meet. All my work has been probably biased to analyzing the test, and seeing what we can do for next year.
“For me it is special to come every day and come through the door and see this building. I feel privileged. It feels an honor to be part of this family but also to see some optimism and happy faces around the factory and see that no one has lost the will to keep moving and keep improving.
“Probably in the back of mind I thought maybe I would find a team that wishes that its season is over and we go for next year. But actually I have found a team that is full of battery even in November/December. Full of will to go racing next year, and that is an immediately contagious thing.
“It comes through everyone in the team and through me really well. I was coming full of energy and full of batteries – and it has made me come even more than I thought to Woking to make sure that I cover all the areas before we go racing next year.”
Sainz is keen to talk up the importance of making a positive start, saying he hopes to have a long-term future at McLaren rather than use it as a stepping-stone to another team.
“I want to make it my home for the next few years. The only way to do that apart from good results is showing good commitment to the brand, to the team, getting on well with everyone and I can tell you that this last month has been a very encouraging sign to see how everyone has welcomed me and the way we’ve been working together this last month.
“I feel very much at home already and that is a very important first step as a driver, the first feeling is always very important and that first feeling has been really positive.”