Toro Rosso ace Carlos Sainz has signed a deal to join Renault and trigger a series of domino changes that will secure McLaren the French car manufacturer’s engines for 2018, Autosport and German language website Motorsport-Total.com has learned.
High level sources have confirmed that Sainz will working with Nico Hulkenberg as a team-mate role from the Malaysian Grand Prix, leaving the unlucky Jolyon Palmer, who has not yet get a single point this season.
Also, extremely valued Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly would take over from Sainz at Toro Rosso for the remainder of the season. The 2016 GP2 Series champion has been challenging in the Japanese Super Formula Championship, waiting for an opening in Formula 1.
With the Sainz deal decided, that has opened the way for Toro Rosso to confirm a switch to Honda engines for next year, which in turn ensures McLaren will get hold of a supply of customer Renault power units for 2018 and McLaren will supply gearboxes for the Japanese power unit.
Moving to Renault power might also enable McLaren to reassurance Fernando Alonso to stay at the team for another season. His current deal expires at the end of this year, and the double world champion has been assessing his options for several weeks.