It’s happened – Fernando Alonso has announced that he’s won’t be racing in F1 next season.
The announcement came after a few days of hype building on Twitter. There’s no news yet as to whether he will be doing something like IndyCar, but it seems very likely.
Whatever he does, it means the 37-year-old is leaving F1 as a 32-time race winner and double world champion. OK, he could technically still improve on those, but it seems a bit unlikely. They’re still stats any driver would be proud of, but in Alonso’s case he’s almost underachieved, thanks to far too many years spent racing uncompetitive cars as a result of some slightly unfortunate career decisions.
He said in a statement:
“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.
“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, teammates, 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.”
So, he’s not entirely ruling out coming back in the future, but would that really work out?
Either way, we’ll miss him massively in F1 next year, from his amusing radio messages to the fact that, stats aside, he’s still one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time.