Nov.14 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Carlos Sainz jr may have emerged as a shock candidate to be Fernando Alonso’s teammate next year.
The Red Bull-backed rookie Spaniard now appears out of the running to make his debut for Toro Rosso next year, with the energy drink company likely to instead pair the young Max Verstappen with the more experienced Jean-Eric Vergne.
But Italy’s Omnicorse claims a golden option may have emerged out of the blue for 20-year-old Sainz, the son of the world rally legend and the newly-crowned Formula Renault 3.5 champion — the youngest in its history.
McLaren, having survived without a title sponsor in 2014, and new partner Honda are reportedly breaking the bank to sign the highly-expensive Alonso for 2014.
Team boss Eric Boullier hinted in Brazil that the team is open to welcoming Spanish sponsors to accompany the 33-year-old.
“Santander, Madrilena … there are no serious negotiations, but if they want to come, there is no problem!” he laughed.
Omnicorse claims one of them could be the Telefonica-owned Spanish mobile operator Movistar, which may “open a door for Carlos Sainz jr as the second driver”.
One prominent Spanish motor racing figure, the former F1 manager and Epsilon Euskadi chief Joan Villadelprat, is tipping success for Alonso and McLaren in the years ahead.
“I have no doubt the Honda will be a powerful engine,” he told El Confidencial, “because they have had time to do things well rather than repeat the errors of Renault and Ferrari.
“And I see the marriage of Alonso and McLaren as more fruitful than the first (in 2007),” Villadelprat insisted.
“To start, this time Fernando is the undisputed number 1. Secondly, I think they (Alonso and McLaren) are both very intelligent and have both learned from the past and forgotten it.
“Fernando needed somewhere to go, Ferrari was not going anywhere, the relationship with Marco Mattiacci is zero.
“The McLaren option is good because they have taken every experience this year with the Mercedes engines, Honda will have learned from it and with their resources I am convinced it will be a tremendous engine,” he added.