McLaren will be able to call upon Renault reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin to race if either Carlos Sainz or Lando Norris are unavailable this season.
Sirotkin remains the Renault reserve and the French manufacturer will have priority if the unlikely situation that both teams need to call on a replacement driver arises, but the Russian — who raced for Williams last season — is now available to both Renault-powered teams.
“McLaren and Renault have reached an agreement for McLaren to have access to our third and reserve driver Sergey Sirotkin, if Carlos Sainz or Lando Norris are unable to complete a full race weekend in 2019,” a Renault statement read. “Sergey remains our official reserve, but McLaren can call upon his services this season if needed.”
Fernando Alonso remains a McLaren ambassador and has no confirmed racing commitments at this stage following the end of the World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’, but Sirotkin offers an immediate option due to his presence on site at grands prix.
“This is an expedient solution for McLaren in 2019,” McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said. “Sergey is a known quantity, has the necessary superlicense points and is formally aligned to our engine provider, Renault, so he is the obvious candidate.”