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Alonso: I'm stopping because I want to

NEWS STORY
25/10/2018

While, elsewhere in the paddock, colleagues were lamenting his decision to quit the sport, countryman Carlos Sainz even insisting the move should serve as a warning to F1, Fernando Alonso was making clear that he has not been driven out but merely wants to move on.

"I stop because I want to, not because I am being forced to," he told reporters, ahead of this weekend's Mexican Grand Prix. "I want to stop because I achieved in F1 more than I dreamed of and it's time to achieve bigger things outside F1.

"In F1, there is always the feeling of here is the biggest thing in the world and if someone goes, people don't understand that maybe he wants to go," he continued. "They think he has to go because there is not a competitive car to race with. I could have a competitive car or maybe McLaren next year is super-competitive, who knows?

"But I don't want even to try," he admitted. "I want to stop next year because I think I can be a better driver, more complete driver and better for my career outside F1 because this chapter is already done with, and maybe there are other things outside F1 that I need to conquer. I didn't succeed in other areas of motorsport and I will try those.

"I am not stopping because I don't have a competitive car," he insisted. "I have been saying the same since August. I stop because I did everything I wanted in F1. I arrived in F1, I won grands prix, I won championships, I broke records, I drove for McLaren, for Renault, for Ferrari, I am 37 years old and I cannot do more in F1."

One of the sport's few characters, the Spaniard insists he is not leaving the sport with any regrets, while fiercely proud of the high esteem in which many hold him.

"I always felt a lot of respect all my career in F1," he said. "I have been always considered by the team owners, by the team principals, always respected and highly rated. So I feel very privileged of racing for those teams, to have the respect of my team-mates, other drivers, you guys, the media. It has been perfect. It is the perfect time to stop and I feel perfect now.

"So tomorrow or next week, 'it is a sad thing I am leaving', when I had the respect of all the team principals, the teams, I raced for the best manufacturers, I have been paid a lot more than when I was in karts thinking about my salary in the future, I have a wonderful life, I arrived in Mexico and they give 30,000 faces (masks) for the grandstand to say goodbye.

"In Abu Dhabi it will be the same. I feel so privileged, so happy, so respected around the world, so I can only say thank you, and it has been a perfect journey, not a sad journey or a sad end. But I know it doesn't matter what I say because it is what the general opinion wants to think or wants to see."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Mexico City, here.

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