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Fernando Alonso to quit F1 at season end

NEWS STORY
14/08/2018

McLaren has confirmed that two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will not race in Formula 1 in 2019.

Alonso, who turned 37 in July, is currently competing in his 17th F1 season, his fifth with McLaren, and has amassed 32 wins, 22 pole positions and 97 podiums to date.

Beyond his two titles – in 2005 he became the then-youngest world champion in F1 history – Fernando has been championship runner-up three times.

"After 17 wonderful years in this amazing sport, it's time for me to make a change and move on," said the Spaniard. "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.

"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.

"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."

"Fernando is not only an outstanding ambassador for McLaren but also for Formula 1," added Zak Brown. "His 17 years in the sport, as arguably the pre-eminent driver of his generation and undoubtedly an F1 great, have added another layer to Formula 1's rich history.

"There is a time for everyone to make a change and Fernando has decided the end of this season to be his. We respect his decision, even if we believe he is in the finest form of his career. Our open dialogue with Fernando has meant we could plan for this eventuality.

"While evaluating his future during the past months, Fernando's competitiveness has been undimmed. He has continued to perform at the highest level throughout, as we know he will do in the remaining nine races of this year's championship.

"I know that the entire team joins me in paying tribute to Fernando's enormous contribution to McLaren; he is a legend both for the championship and for the team. Fernando is an important part of our story and will join an illustrious line of McLaren drivers. On behalf of Shaikh Mohammed, Mansour and our entire board, we wish Fernando every success in the future."

On Saturday, Alonso tweeted a cryptic message indicating that an announcement of some sort would be made today. Interestingly, yesterday, the official IndyCar site ran a brief story mentioning the tweet, along with a number of messages from fans hoping to see the Spaniard jump ship from F1 and reminding readers that victory in the Indy 500 is all that's preventing the Spaniard from emulating Graham Hill in achieving motor sport's Triple Crown.

While Alonso may well head to IndyCar next season, it remains to be seen who will replace him at McLaren, with Lando Norris expected by many to be making the step up to F1.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Rock Doc, 15/08/2018 16:40

"Well this decision has been a long time coming as F1 has really been without Fernando for 4 years now.

He has such prestigious talent that his second time with Maclaren has been a complete waste for everyone.

At the end of the day though it is telling that the top teams don't want to touch him. The Fans would love to see him in comparable machinery to battle at the front, but he has proven to be more of a liability. That is quite something for a driver with his obvious talent. Normally teams can look past that for the leg up the grid he could give them.

Some indicate that his decisions have been unlucky, going to teams at a time they are in decline. It does make you wonder if it was his presence in the teams that caused their declines, especially when their fortunes revive as soon as he leaves.

Still this is loss for F1. One of the yardsticks the drivers use to compare themselves has gone. I wish him good fortune with the rest of his career."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Max Noble, 15/08/2018 11:45

"If he loves his drivers racing so much Mr Horner should hire Montoya, Alonso, and Villeneuve and set them racing to be the first triple crown of the 21st century. :-). The Red Bull triple triple... sorry? What’s that Max V? Your toys are all around the pram... how did that happen? :-). "

Rating: Negative (-2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by imejl99, 15/08/2018 11:41

"For Alonso, maybe a little bit overdue, he IS 37 now.

For McLaren, there is a urgent need to brake vicious circle of mediocrity. As this will be difficult to achieve with outright results, try to fix image and get some sponsors. Racing pioneer and mighty force as McLaren once was, go for female racer, Tatiana Calderon comes in mind, maybe there could be McLaren car with Adidas stripes across. "

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4. Posted by Fambank, 15/08/2018 11:25

"@Chris Balfe

I've always been a big fan of his, but at his age it probably would be a bad idea to indeed not go for that treble.
Still. The man is a legend."

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5. Posted by Editor, 15/08/2018 9:59

"@ Fambank

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"

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6. Posted by Fambank, 15/08/2018 9:48

"@Chris Balfe

Then who is to say he doesn't want a shot at the Triple Crown ? ;)"

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7. Posted by Insane Reindeer, 15/08/2018 9:14

"I am confused. Is he really leaving F1 or just taking a year off? Does he get first refusal at McLaren for 2020? Does he have another drive lined up for 2020 and this is just his way of spending a quieter 2019?"

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8. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 15/08/2018 9:14

"@Chris Balfe (editor)

Nigel had trouble getting in the Mclaren back in the day Chris, so think that would rule him out now.

Jenson alongside Lando Norris? options from the current drivers seem to be Kimi, Carlos or Sergio, not sure they are team leaders.

"

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9. Posted by Editor, 15/08/2018 8:40

"@ Motorsport-fan

And let's not forget... Nigel Mansell never officially retired."

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10. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 15/08/2018 8:35

"Mclarens options for a No1 driver appear limited, has Zak made a call to Jenson yet?"

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11. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 15/08/2018 4:21

"Must admit I am not surprised by the decision given the options available to him; the only available seat that could have afforded him was taken by DR and RBR made it very clear they were not interested so, another year of driving the wheels off the car just to get to 8th (providing it didn't expire) or doing something else (probably Indy).

Good luck Fernando, I will miss the radio 'messages'."

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12. Posted by Yeyox02, 15/08/2018 1:25

"Another Alonso´s bad decision."

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13. Posted by ryanhellyer, 14/08/2018 23:24

"I look forward to seeing him in an orange Andretti Dallara Honda next season."

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14. Posted by @R1Racing71, 14/08/2018 20:53

"@ChrisBalfe, is now the time to approach ML for comment (as we have his attention)
I think many of us would look forward to it."

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15. Posted by @R1Racing71, 14/08/2018 20:50

"Silverstone must be counting their lucky stars, there is going to be a lot of attention (and gate receipts ) this weekend 😃"

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