Motor racing: Alonso the final piece of the puzzle for McLaren

Cyril Abiteboul of Renault says: "Sainz is a very promising driver who has been on our radar for some time". It will be great honor.

"Whether it's with McLaren or whatever Fernando happens to be next year, I hope he has the chance to be fighting with us".

In qualifying Hulkenberg outpaced Alonso to take the 'best of the rest' slot in seventh by 0.166 seconds, and got within two tenths of Valtteri Bottas's sixth-placed Mercedes.

In a series of anticipated developments here in Singapore on Friday, Renault have also confirmed that Carlos Sainz, 23, will leave Toro Rosso to join them next year in place of Englishman Jolyon Palmer.

"Our main goal now is to absolutely concentrate on 2018 and Toro Rosso", he said.

First, Sainz won't be racing for Toro Rosso-Honda, the new partnership that was announced yesterday. "But it really depends on what happens with the engine regs". Nothing changes, I still want to go out with my head held high, and finish the year as well as I can.

"It is the first time that Renault will work with McLaren and we are proud to have reached an agreement with an organisation that has such a rich Formula 1 history".

Debuting in 2008, the race around the Marina Bay Street Circuit under the floodlights provides a unique atmosphere and is hugely popular with both drivers and fans.

Red Bull have won one race and finished on the podium at half the races this season. I don't have specific information of what is expected Renault, improvements that he has prepared for coming year. But results have been abject and star driver Fernando Alonso has grown increasingly exasperated.

Alonso also sounded a note of caution when he said: "You never know if it's a good move or a bad move for the team. We'll have to see", Palmer said. "Honda's spirit is to fight for the top three at the top of the grid".

In joint statements, both parties described the new Renault-McLaren alliance as 'a partnership that will challenge for victory'. Alonso has spent the last three years mired at the back of the field.

At the start of June, team boss Eric Boullier condemned the team's performance in Canada as "simply and absolutely not acceptable" while executive director Zak Brown described Honda as "lost" and admitted "serious concerns" about the Japanese firm's ability to win a world championship, their stated aim upon reuniting in 2014. Sainz's potential replacement at Toro Rosso would be Pierre Gasly - the 2016 GP2 Champion and currently 2 in the Japanse Super Formula Championship.