First Grand Prix as a McLaren driver
Melbourne, March 14 2019.- Carlos Sainz is ready to kick-start his fifth season in Formula 1. He will do so as a McLaren driver. The first race of the year is the Australian GP, which will take place this weekend at the Albert Park Circuit.
The 2019 preseason was a productive one for the McLaren team, gathering 4.064 kilometres of experience across eight days of winter testing. This means the mileage increased by 46% in comparison to last year.
Carlos landed in Australia last Sunday, ready to take part in his 82th Grand Prix. After recovering from jet-lag and taking part in a massive season launch in the city with the rest of the grid, he walked the track together with his engineers. He later talked to the media to share his views ahead of the start of the new Championship.
"I feel very good, happy to be here finally on my first Grand Prix for McLaren after a long winter. Since the Abu Dhabi test I have been looking forward to this moment. I feel very prepared, now it is a matter of getting the hours going by and get in the car".
"We want to keep the expectations under control. We don’t know where we are but we know we have done our homework. We are better prepared than in other years, but only tomorrow after Free Practice 2 we will start to know where the car is and what we can do".
The sudden death of Charlie Whiting was an unexpected shock for the Formula 1 family. All drivers were moved by it and Carlos was no exception.
"An extremely sad start for me. I had a very good relationship with Charlie. I spent quite a lot of time with him outside the briefings, behind the cameras. I was shocked when I heard the news. Very saddened, because he was one of those guys who was always open for a chat, open to give you constructive criticism".
"For example, he came to me on my first year in Formula 1 to say how good we were doing but also to control myself a bit in some other areas. I enjoyed it, I enjoyed those times and I am going to miss him a lot".
The Australian GP will start on Friday with the two opening Free Practice sessions, which will be held at 12:00 and 16:00 local time (02:00 and 06:00 CET). On Saturday, the final Free Practice will follow at 14:00 (04:00 CET) prior to the Qualifying session at 17:00 (07:00). On Sunday, the Australian GP will take place at 16:10 (06:10 CET).