Fernando Alonso hints he could return to Formula 1 after 2019

Fernando Alonso says he could return to Formula 1 after 2019 and has indicated his absence from the grid may only be temporary if McLaren's form improves

Fernando Alonso hints he could return to Formula 1 after 2019

The two-time world champion revealed on Tuesday that he will not be racing in F1 next season, but stopped short of declaring it a retirement.

He paid tribute to McLaren, which he rejoined in 2015 only to fail to compete for a podium in a dismal three-year spell with Honda and amid McLaren's own struggles this year since switching to Renault power.

Alonso suggested a future McLaren revival could facilitate his return to F1.

"My heart is with the team forever," said Alonso.

"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."

Alonso is currently contesting the World Endurance Championship superseason, which will run into 2019, and is expected to add an IndyCar programme to that.

He made his Indianapolis 500 debut last year and the famous race is all he has left to win to clinch motorsport's unofficial triple crown, having claimed victory on his Le Mans 24 Hours debut with Toyota this year.

Alonso has not communicated his 2019 plans, but said he made the call to stop racing in F1 earlier this year.

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

"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, team-mates, 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."

Alonso's departure from McLaren confirms that both seats are up for grabs at the British team next year.

Stoffel Vandoorne has yet to earn a contract extension, while reserve driver Lando Norris has admitted he may benefit more from a year of free-practice running before graduating to F1 in 2020.

Autosport understands that Carlos Sainz Jr is a serious option for McLaren, so long as Red Bull does not call him up to replace Renault-bound Daniel Ricciardo.

Red Bull has an option on Sainz that expires next month.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown said that the team's "open dialogue with Fernando has meant we could plan for this eventuality" but made no mention of who features in that plan.

shares
comments
Fernando Alonso will not race in Formula 1 in 2019

Previous article

Fernando Alonso will not race in Formula 1 in 2019

Next article

'People overrate' Fernando Alonso says 1979 F1 champion Scheckter

'People overrate' Fernando Alonso says 1979 F1 champion Scheckter
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Author Scott Mitchell
Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash Plus

Why Russell was right to be wrong about Bottas after Imola F1 clash

George Russell and Valtteri Bottas' collision at Imola on Sunday prompted fury in the Formula 1 paddock. But Russell's carefully-worded heartfelt statement later, acknowledging that his initial response was wrong, proved the right move

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight Plus

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

Formula 1
Apr 21, 2021
How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021