Fernando Alonso has confirmed his decision that he will not race in Formula 1 next year.
The thirty-seven year old Spaniard will depart from the sport next year after spending 17 years in the sport, winning two world championships with Renault and winning races with the likes of Scuderia Ferrari and McLaren F1 Team.
Alonso became the youngest world champion in F1 in 2005, breaking Michael Schumacher‘s run of five world titles in a row. Alonso’s record was broken by Lewis Hamilton in 2008 and then Sebastian Vettel in 2010.
The Spaniard next year will compete in the second half of the 2018/19 WEC Super Season with Toyota, where he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year. Alonso is aiming to be the second driver to complete the ‘triple crown’.
Alonso says that after 17 years in the sport, it was time to make a change as he will take on new challenges outside of F1.
“After 17 wonderful years in this amazing sport, it’s time for me to make a change and move on. I have enjoyed every single minute of those incredible seasons and I cannot thank enough the people who have contributed to make them all so special.” said Alonso.
“There are still several grands prix to go this season, and I will take part in them with more commitment and passion than ever.
“Let’s see what the future brings; new exciting challenges are around the corner. I’m having one of the happiest times ever in my life but I need to go on exploring new adventures.”
Alonso’s final years of his F1 career have been spent at McLaren where he suffered a difficult period with the Honda engine and failed to win any races. His last win recorded was back at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix with Ferrari.
The Spaniard says that the decision was made months ago and thanks McLaren and his former teams, team-mates and colleagues for working with him during Formula 1 as he eyes on new challenges for the future.
“I want to thank everyone at McLaren. My heart is with the team forever. I know they will come back stronger and better in the future and it could be the right moment for me to be back in the series; that would make me really happy. I have built so many great relationships with many fantastic people at McLaren, and they have given me the opportunity to broaden my horizons and race in other categories. I feel I am a more complete driver now than ever.
“I made this decision some months ago and it was a firm one. Nevertheless, I would like to sincerely thank Chase Carey and Liberty Media for the efforts made to change my mind and everyone who has contacted me during this time.
“Finally, I would also like to thank my former teams, team-mates, competitors, colleagues, partners, journalists and everyone I have worked with in my F1 career. And, especially, my fans all over the world. I am quite sure our paths will cross again in the future.”
McLaren have not confirmed yet who will replace or drive for the team for the 2019 Formula 1 season.