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Carlos Sainz

Sainz may replace Palmer at Renault starting in Malaysia

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz is all set to depart Toro Rosso for seat with Renault in 2018, with reports emerging that the deal is now signed and that the Spaniard my even be in a yellow car as early as the Malaysian Grand Prix in October.

During the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend, it is expected that McLaren will announce that they will split from Honda, with Fernando Alonso ‘very likely’ to stay for at least another season, while Sainz has emerged as a crucial bargaining chip in the complex negotiations.

The young Spaniard, who has made no secret of his determination to leave Toro Rosso in order to move up the grid, has effectively become the deal-maker for Renault agreeing to give up their contract with Toro Rosso and swap to McLaren.

F1 journalist Dieter Rencken reports that a flurry of announcements are most likely to be set in motion this weekend with Sainz joining Renault in a deal that will see him partner Nico Hulkenberg.

Before the summer break there was speculation that Sainz would replace Joylon Palmer at the Belgian Grand Prix, suggesting the deal was agreed to some time back but only now has ink been put to paper.

Motorsport Total reported: “Sainz may already be working as a Nico Hulkenberg’s teammate from the Malaysian Grand Prix at Malaysia, leaving the unlucky Jolyon Palmer, who has not yet won a single World Cup point this season. This would make Sainz happy, who wanted to switch to Enstone last year.”

Any such early transfer could have enormous ramifications in the Constructors’ Championship given that Hulkenberg has scored all of Renault’s 34 points this season while Sainz has contributed 36 of Toro Rosso’s 40.

Were Sainz to move this season, Pierre Gasly would almost certainly be appointed his instant replacement. For the longer term, however, it’s speculated Honda junior Nobuharu Matsushita could succeed Sainz although the 23-year-old doesn’t currently possess enough superlicene points to race in F1.

Meanwhile, were Sainz to be confirmed at Renault, it would leave Williams with the most desirable remaining vacancy for 2018 – assuming the Grove outfit opt against retaining Felipe Massa

How things are likely to pan out:

  • Sainz joins Renault as engine-swap sweetener for Red Bull
  • McLaren split from Honda and become Renault powered
  • Toro Rosso split from Renault to take on Honda engines
  • Alonso signs a new deal with McLaren
  • Gasly to join Toro Rosso alongside Kvyat

Big Question: Will Carlos be good for Renault?