McLaren has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will not race in Formula 1 for the 2019 season, ending a 16-season stint on the grid.

Two-time world champion Alonso, 37, was known to be considering his future in F1 amid growing disillusionment with the sport, with the Spaniard being linked with a possible move into the Verizon IndyCar Series for next year.

In a statement issued by McLaren on Tuesday, Alonso confirmed he would not be racing in F1 next year.

"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," Alonso 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."

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown added: “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."

Alonso made his F1 debut in 2001 with Minardi before moving into a Renault race seat for the 2003 season, becoming the youngest race winner in F1 history that year.

He went on to claim back-to-back world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006 before a one-year stint at McLaren, with a return to Renault following until the end of 2009.

Alonso raced with Ferrari between 2010 and 2014 before moving to McLaren for a second stint, only for the team's struggles to leave him unable to fight at the front of the grid.

Alonso's interest in emulating Graham Hill and becoming only the second driver in history to win the 'triple crown of motorsport' led him to make his Indianapolis 500 debut last year, where he qualified fifth and leading early on before retiring due to an engine issue. He won on debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year with Toyota, leaving the Indy 500 as the only leg of the triple crown he is yet to win.

Alonso's only confirmed racing commitments for 2019 now lie in the FIA World Endurance Championship, where he is currently racing with Toyota across the 13-month 'super season' that includes rounds at Sebring, Spa and Le Mans.



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