Carlos Sainz Jr. Signs With Renault F1 For 2018
Another rumor confirmed.
Carlos Sainz Jr. has been ready to handle the responsibility—and opportunity—of a factory Formula 1 team seat for months now. Just over a week ago, Dr. Helmut Marko of Red Bull hinted that Sainz may be outward bound between seasons, and admitted that Renault had made a "good" offer on the Spaniard, but that their buyout failed. It looks like Renault returned with their checkbook, however, with an added zero to their offer for Sainz, because as of Friday, Renault Sport has officially announced that Carlos Sainz Jr. will be driving for them in 2018, replacing Jolyon Palmer once and for all.
“Carlos Sainz is a very promising driver who has been on our radar for some time," said Cyril Abiteboul of Renault, "we feel that Nico and Carlos will complement each other on and off track and the combination should help us push forwards on the grid."
Sainz may not have been Renault's first choice, though. A report by Motorsport pegs Daniel Ricciardo as Renault's first goal, but unable to wrest Ricciardo from Red Bull, they opted for a talented junior instead. Should Renault find someone they prefer over Sainz, however, Red Bull has the opportunity to buy the Spaniard back, after the 2018 season.
The filling of the Renault seat has implications for another driver, too: Robert Kubica. A comeback for the Polish driver has been the source of much ruckus since Kubica received a surprise test by Renault back in June, and his performance was satisfactory enough for Renault to give him a crack at their current car after the Hungarian Grand Prix. Renault was, for a time, the only team considered an option for Kubica, but with their second seat now occupied for the near future, there is but one alternative: Williams.