Fernando Alonso announces he will leave F1 at the end of 2018
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Two time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso has confirmed that 2018's season will be his last in the series.
“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," he said.
“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.”
The Spaniard has long been rumoured to be departing the series, after several roller-coaster seasons with the McLaren F1 team — mustering a best championship result of 10th in 2016 (though he currently sits ninth).
His career has seen him score 32 race wins, 22 pole positions, and 97 podium finishes out of 307 starts.
The move now paves the way for 37-year-old Alonso to take his career in a new direction; potentially towards the Verizon IndyCar Series or FIA World Endurance Championship — having made high profile debuts in both classes in the recent past.
It also could pave the way for highly rated former Toyota Racing Series champion Lando Norris to be promoted from McLaren's test-driver role into a full-time driver role alongside current driver Stoffel Vandoorne. Though this has not yet been confirmed.