Carlos Sainz insists the responsibility of being McLaren’s team leader in 2019 feels “powerful” rather than daunting.

Following fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso’s departure from Formula 1 at the end of this season, Sainz was handpicked as his compatriots first choice replacement at the Woking-based outfit after being ousted out of Renault.

Given he’ll partner a rookie in the form of Formula 2 runner-up Lando Norris, Sainz is aware his feedback and experience will be invaluable to the team next year but views the extra workload as an empowering authority.

“It feels good, it feels in a way powerful,” Sainz told Autosport. “I’m going to arrive at McLaren in my fifth year in Formula 1.

“I’ve gone through two teams, and I still have that World Series [Formula Renault 3.5] championship fresh in my mind.

“So I’m going in with that confidence and a lot of knowledge. When you work for two different teams, with very different characteristics of car balance, of set-up, like it was at Toro Rosso and Renault, I think I’ve been at the two extremes of car balance.

“Because of that I’m going to McLaren with a lot of knowledge and wanting to also lead, and follow a direction with them that is hopefully a good one.”

Sainz’s stint at Renault didn’t go without its difficulties as he generally struggled to find a balance with the car between qualifying and the race.

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Despite this, he believes the experience has only given him a clear understanding of how to get the most out of a cars set-up.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Sainz added. “I’ve gone very different routes on set-ups to try and optimise this [2018] car.

“Also this year, I’ve been caught out in races while trying to experiment to try and find something extra on the car.

“So it has been a big learning year for me in that way, because I’ve been really focused in trying to improve the car I have.

“I think I’ve done a lot of progress in that sense also. It’s going be a good experience for me and for McLaren in the future.”