Fernando Alonso has said that he is “not ruling anything out” in regards to a potential comeback in Formula 1 after a year out in 2019.
For now, this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stands to be Alonso’s final race in the series after 17 seasons, 32 grands prix victories, 97 podiums and two World Championships.
The McLaren F1 Team driver will stay linked with the team next year through his second attempt at the Indianapolis 500, as the Spaniard attempts to complete motorsport’s hallowed Triple Crown.
Alonso admitted that Abu Dhabi will be a “very emotional race” for him, as he races with a special commemorative livery at the Yas Marina Circuit.
“Abu Dhabi will certainly be very emotional race for me, as it will be the end of a long and happy 17 years in Formula 1,” Alonso said.
“The time has come for me to move on, but I’m looking forward to ending the season – and my F1 career – on a positive note.
“I’m also pleased that my relationship with McLaren will continue with the Indy 500, and there will be more new challenges together.
“There are very exciting things ahead, and I’m enthusiastic for what the future will bring. For now, I’m not ruling anything out.”
Alonso took second place alongside Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi for Toyota Gazoo Racing at the 6 Hours of Shanghai last weekend and will continue to race in the World Endurance Championship until the end of the 2018-19 season – at the least.
With team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne also not racing in F1 for 2019, and McLaren relatively secure in sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship, Alonso says that the team does not have “anything to lose this weekend”. The 37-year-old remains in the top ten of the Drivers’ Championship by one point over Esteban Ocon.
“I’m fully focussed on this weekend in Abu Dhabi, and making the most of every day – in the car, with the team, and with my friends and family,” Alonso added.
“Abu Dhabi is a tough circuit, but we don’t have anything to lose, so both Stoffel and I will be fighting hard as always.”