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Alonso to leave F1 after 2018

  • Published on 14 Aug 2018 17:00
  • comments 21
  • By: Fergal Walsh

McLaren has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will leave Formula 1 following the 2018 season. The Spaniard made his debut back in 2001 for Minardi before going on to secure two world championships with Renault.

The 37-year-old is widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen, picking up 32 wins and 97 podiums. His future has been debated for many months, and now it has been confirmed that he will depart the sport following the 2018 season.

"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.

“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."

Alonso first ventured away from the sport during the 2017 season, when he skipped the Monaco Grand Prix in favour of the Indianapolis 500. The double-world champion has not had a competitive car in F1 in many years, and has not won a race since 2013

Following his championship winning years at Renault, Alonso joined McLaren for a year. After falling out with the team, he returned to Renault for two seasons, before getting the call from Ferrari.

However, a championship with the Scuderia never surfaced, and he left the Maranello-based squad in 2014. He re-joined McLaren in search of a new challenge, but endured three painful years as Honda, who ran as McLaren's engine supplier, failed to produce a competitive and reliable engine.

McLaren paired up with Renault for the 2018 season, but it hasn't been enough for the Woking squad. The team is still far behind the front-runners, which has led Alonso to leave in search of a fresh adventure.

McLaren's CEO Zak Brown says that the team respect his decision and has labelled him a great ambassador for McLaren and F1: “Fernando is not only an outstanding ambassador for McLaren but also for Formula 1. 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.”

Alonso added: “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."

 

Fergal Walsh

Replies (21)

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  • Freguz

    Posts: 159

    Oooops!

    • + 0
    • Aug 14 2018 - 17:03
  • It's a bit sad that this was the only way forward left for him, but it really was. No seat at Mercedes, the bridge back to Ferrari too badly burnt, as is the one to Honda that would have lead to Red Bull next year and helping the Renault revival would take too long ...
    I hope he gets a good ride in Indy if he wants it.

    • + 1
    • Aug 14 2018 - 17:34
  • boudy

    Posts: 1,162

    No top team would have him. He's had enough of just picking up points and no where near a winning position. It all fell apart after leaving Ferrari.

    The F1 win in Singapore where his team mate crashed to have him win the race still doesn't sit right with me.

    Lets hope McLaren can move forward after him.

    • + 0
    • Aug 14 2018 - 17:44
  • Sad day, but seems quite understandable.

    Question to you F1 fans, does this constitute retirement from F1? I didn't see the word mentioned anywhere.

    • + 0
    • Aug 14 2018 - 18:41
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,162

      In essence it's force retirement since no top team will have him at the moment.

      The line "and it could be the right moment for me to be back in the series; that would make me really happy." says it all. He's burned too many bridges. The world of F1 seems like an closed group were people rotate between teams.

      It could be that he comes back with an F1 team but I can't see which team maybe Renault

      • + 1
      • Aug 14 2018 - 18:48
    • Its hard to tell, but my gutfeeling says that it is, and that he will probably not come back. If he leaves now, I dont expect there to be room for him in the future. As Boudy says, he has burned too many bridges, and once he departs I expect the chances to find a good seat to get ever slimmer from now on.

      • + 0
      • Aug 14 2018 - 19:18
    • Alonso's return depends on many other factors. 1. McLaren's surprise revival 2. RIC moving to Ferrari in 2021 3. HAM's retirement from F1 4. Merc's desperation in 2020......

      • + 0
      • Aug 14 2018 - 19:30
    • RogerF1

      Posts: 428

      Can’t see a way back and likely time to move on for a new challenge as he mentioned in his farewell video, move on whilst at his best (pity the McLaren cars weren’t at their best at the same time). But he pulled the best possible out for McL. and fair game for that prolonged effort. For me, get stuck landing the Indy 500 or IndyCar series al la Mansell

      • + 0
      • Aug 14 2018 - 22:16
  • Unfortunate, but not unexpected. :/

    • + 0
    • Aug 14 2018 - 19:19
    • Told you to give up on him in F1 in June already. There was no chance of him staying past this year after winning Le Mans

      • + 0
      • Aug 14 2018 - 22:15
    • Honey, I had "given up" on him way before that, but F1 is kinda tricky to predict. Lets face it: we all knew he was leaving, that was a given, we just didnt know if it'd be in 2019 or if it'd be 2020. Now I wonder if he will join Button over at Super GT? >;D

      • + 0
      • Aug 14 2018 - 22:21
    • Super GT? Forget it for now. Indy 500 then maybe Indy championship then maybe Le Mans championship then it gets tricky. WRX?

      • + 0
      • Aug 15 2018 - 05:48
    • Yeah most likely, but a skinless man can dream right? I think he will stick to Indy or WEC. Probably do Infy fulltime with McLaren first, theh will likely try to do anything to keep him on board, even if he leaves F1. Not seeing him enter WRX really.

      • + 0
      • Aug 15 2018 - 10:56
  • Actually a good decision, get that Indycar championship sorted out, while a competitive spot is opened up.

    • + 0
    • Aug 14 2018 - 19:27
  • Jutlandia

    Posts: 186

    Next season I'll miss his radio rant, i'm sure.
    Very entertaning.

    • + 0
    • Aug 14 2018 - 19:49
  • RogerF1

    Posts: 428

    Not going to find an empty deckchair to sit in on an oval banking so needs to find a reliable car.

    • + 0
    • Aug 14 2018 - 22:03
  • Bhurt

    Posts: 320

    In reality he quit years ago.

    • + 1
    • Aug 14 2018 - 22:59
  • f1ski

    Posts: 548

    a huge talent, poor timing, McLaren will be back in the mix next year if history repeats itself

    • + 0
    • Aug 15 2018 - 00:29
    • boudy

      Posts: 1,162

      Will mcLaren will move massively forwards next year? My guess is yes.

      • + 0
      • Aug 15 2018 - 10:14
  • a huge shame really. Shows the current state of F! when Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull all would rather have a paid #2 driver to move aside for their goldenboys rather than have Alonso actually put some pressure on them. With modern teams being so spineless, we'll never see the likes of Senna & Prost ever again. I find it disgraceful that Alonso is out and Bottas and Raikkonen still have seats. just terrible!

    • + 0
    • Aug 15 2018 - 11:43
    • When you're a team boss you have to think about team dynamics and putting Alonso in would just create problems in the team. And on top of that they would have to pay a high price for him. Bottas and Raikkonen are both very good drivers.

      • + 1
      • Aug 15 2018 - 17:07

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