Fernando Alonso is treating 2018 as his last season in Formula 1 despite leaving open the possibility to make a return in the future following his decision to quit the sport for next year.

Two-time world champion Alonso confirmed earlier this month he would not be racing in F1 next year amid growing disillusionment with the sport, instead looking elsewhere to pursue other challenges and complete his bid to win the 'triple crown of motorsport'.

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Alonso said in the press release announcing his decision to quit that a time when McLaren grows competitive again "could be the right moment for me to be back in the series," but has since gone on to use the word "retirement" when discussing his decision.

Asked if he thought a return to F1 in the future was possible, Alonso confirmed that while there was a possibility he could return down the line, he was treating 2018 as though it was his last in the sport.

"Right now I’m thinking that it’s a goodbye. But you know, life changes very quickly," Alonso said.

"Life also taught me in the past how things may change, in couple of months time or in years' time. As I said also in the press release when we announced the retirement, [I wanted] to leave the door open because I don’t have the crystal ball to know what’s going to happen in the future.

"As I said, for me it’s a bye-bye, but who knows in the future?"

Alonso explained how he wanted to ensure he departed from F1 while still at the peak of his powers, and not at a time when he was off the pace or out of options for seats.

"I feel strong," Alonso said. "I feel I’m driving at a good level, and I want to say bye-bye to this sport when I feel strong, not when I feel not competitive or I don’t have any place to go or whatever and then you say bye-bye.

"I prefer to take my own decision and find new challenges that may be Formula 1 cannot offer me at the moment."

Alonso is widely expected to push for a move into the Verizon IndyCar Series for 2019, with reports linking him with a possible road course test in the coming weeks.

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