Fernando Alonso will not be racing in Formula 1 in 2019. The McLaren Formula 1 team has announced his retirement in an official statement yesterday. Alonso will complete the 2018 season with McLaren, before bidding farewell. He assured that his commitment, for the mean time, is to the team.
The two-time world champion has spent 17 years in the sport, debuting with Minardi in 2001, and winning his first world championship with Renault in 2005, making him the youngest World Champion at the time. He went on to win his second World Championship in 2006. He was been in pursuit of a third ever since, with the Ferrari and McLaren teams.
"After 17 wonderful years in this amazing sport it's time for me to make a change and move on," he said.
"I made this decision some months ago and it was a firm one. There are still several grands prix to go this season, and I will take part in them with more commitment and passion than ever," he added.
The Spanish driver has not elaborated on his plans for the future but it is widely speculated that he plans to pursue the motorsports triple crown, which entails victories in three of the most prestigious motor races in the world in one's career: a victory in Formula 1 at the Monaco Grand Prix, a victory at the 24 hours of Le Mans and an Indianapolis 500 win.
Alonso has already achieved two victories in Monaco, clinched a Le Mans victory with Toyota last year, and came close to an Indy 500 victory too, if not for engine failure later in the race. The only driver to achieve such a feat was Englishman, Graham Hill.
Nonetheless, Alonso’s departure from F1 may not be permanent. During he statement, he hinted of a possible return.
“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 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.”