Alonso will not compete in F1 next year

INSIGHT What are Alonso's Indy Car options?			Image by Tee  LAT

INSIGHT What are Alonso's Indy Car options? Image by Tee LAT

That's right: Fernando Alonso is calling time on his Formula One career.

Fernando Alonso won the Formula One drivers' championship twice.

McLaren has announced that Fernando Alonso will leave Formula 1 after the 2018 season, stopping short of confirming a full retirement from the sport. "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".

Earlier this year, Alonso won the 24 hours of Le Mans on debut with Toyota.

Alonso said in a statement: "After 17 wonderful years in this awesome sport, it's time for me to make a change and move on".

'There are still several grands prix to go this season, and I will take part in them with more commitment and passion than ever.

McLaren worked with Andretti Autosport to field a vehicle for Alonso for the 2017 Indy 500, where the Spaniard put himself in contention by leading for 27 laps before suffering an engine failure with 21 laps remaining.

Ahead of Alonso's announcement on Tuesday, the IndyCar series dropped a hint on their Twitter account that they would be meeting Alonso.

A McLaren spokesperson said "we never comment on driver matters" when contacted by Autosport.

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"I don't know his exact situation at Renault and Red Bull, but he is certainly someone, when you go down the shortlist of drivers that you consider putting in your race auto if he was free".

"When I barely knew how to walk, I ran straight towards your noise, your circuits, without knowing anything about you", he said.

"I made this decision some months ago and it was a firm one", continued Alonso.

Sainz drove for Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso for three seasons and is now on loan at Renault, but will lose that drive because Daniel Ricciardo is quitting Red Bull to join the French manufacturer for 2019.

After it was confirmed that Sainz Jr. would be loaned to Renault by Red Bull Racing to replace the underperforming Jolyon Palmer at in the 2018 season, Palmer and Renault cut ties with four races remaining in the 2017 season.

November will see the Spaniard conclude his 17 year F1 career after joining the sport in 2001 racing for Italian team Minardi.

Alonso has amassed 32 wins, 22 pole positions and 97 podiums to date.

The 29-year-old Australian, who ironically nearly signed with McLaren, has driven for Red Bull Racing since the 2014 season, and he has been in the Red Bull Racing organization since 2008.

"There is a time for everyone to make a change, and Fernando has decided the end of this season to be his", McLaren Chief Executive Zak Brown said.

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