Carlos Sainz admits to holding early McLaren contract talks

Luke Smith
Sainz has had early McLaren contract talks

Carlos Sainz is in "no rush at all" to agree a new contract with McLaren beyond the end of the season, but has already held early conversations about his future.

Sainz joined McLaren for the 2019 season on a two-year deal alongside rookie Lando Norris, and led its charge to fourth place in the constructors' championship, scoring its first podium for over five years at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old enters the final year of his existing contract in 2020, and said that while early conversations about the future have taken place, he saw no need to rush negotiations.

"Obviously it's not a secret that I'm very happy here in McLaren, and there's obviously been some things going on in the background," said Sainz when asked by Autosport about his future.

"We started to talk already, but at the same time we're going to take it easy because we are in February. So there's no rush at all.

"I'm not going to hide that I'm very, very happy in McLaren, and that I have a lot of faith in this project and the way it's panning out at the beginning."

Sainz has had early McLaren contract talks

McLaren F1 chief Andreas Seidl echoed Sainz's thoughts, saying the team would not look to dive into formal contract talks too early.

"We all like always clarity as soon as possible. But especially on this topic, I think there's no rush for us at the moment to make any decisions or announcements," Seidl said.

"We're just going into the 2020 season now [and] we're very happy with Lando and Carlos, with what they have done last year. So it's important now for us as a team to make the next step.

"I'm sure they can also make the next step with all the learnings from last year, and then I think there's no reason for us to change anything looking ahead."

The 2019 campaign marked the first season in Sainz's career where he held a multi-year contract, giving the Spaniard stability which he has cited as being a major factor in his most successful F1 season to date.

Sainz finished the year sixth in the drivers' championship, only trailing the five race-winning drivers for points.

"I think it played a very decent part in the way the season panned out, having a bit of stability always helps any athlete or racing driver," Sainz said.

"For me in particular, I've never had that in the past, so I didn't know how I was going to affected by it, but it obviously did have quite a good effect on me.

"It just meant I could focus on myself, on how to be a better racing driver, on how to help my team be a better team for next year.

"Everything involved meant that I was just a more complete driver and ready to perform more consistently and better."

Get unlimited access to the world’s best motorsport journalism with Autosport Plus