Fernando Alonso believes it is wrong to think that Formula 1 has failed him by not allowing him to race in a competitive car in recent years, stressing the move to quit the sport at the end of the year was entirely his decision.

Two-time F1 world champion Alonso announced in August he would not be racing in the series next year, instead turning his attention to other racing activities outside of the sport.

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Alonso will be racing at next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with Toyota and remains keen on a return to the Indianapolis 500, but is yet to finalise his plans and make an announcement regarding 2019.

Alonso’s F1 exit has led many to criticise the existing structure of the sport that only sees three teams regularly compete for victories, with Renault’s Carlos Sainz Jr. being the latest figure to offer his thoughts on the situation.

Sainz called Alonso’s departure “a big loss for F1” before adding: “I think it is something for Formula 1 and to everyone to consider why one of the fastest and best drivers is leaving and why we cannot have a bit more competitive grid where many drivers can fight for wins or for podiums.”

However, Alonso stressed his decision had nothing to do with not having a competitive car - his last four years at McLaren having yielded a finish no higher than fifth - and that it was fuelled by a feeling of achieving all he could in F1.

“I could have a competitive car. I’m not stopping because I don’t have a competitive car,” Alonso said.

“I’ve been saying the same thing from August. I’m stopping because I did everything I wanted in Formula 1. I arrived in Formula 1, I won grands prix in Formula 1, I won world championships in Formula 1, I break records in Formula 1. I drove for McLaren, for Renault, for Ferrari. I have 37 years, and I cannot do more in Formula 1.

“All the things that I dream in Formula 1, are done. There are new things in motorsport that are bigger than Formula 1.”

Alonso went on to vent his frustration about the recurring questions about whether a lack of competitive seats options was linked to his decision, saying that many within the sport could not see outside options as being of greater interest.

“From August, it’s the same thing: ‘It’s a shame, and Formula 1 should look that Fernando has to stop,” Alonso said.

“I stop because I want, not because I’ve been forced to stop. I want to stop because I achieved in Formula 1 more than what I dreamed of, and it’s time to achieve even bigger things outside of Formula 1.

“In Formula 1, there is always the feeling that here is the biggest thing in the world, and if someone goes, people don’t understand that maybe he wants to go. [They think] that he has to go because there is not a competitive car to race with. I could have maybe a competitive car, or maybe McLaren next year is super-competitive, who knows?

“But I don’t want even to try. I want to stop next year because I think I can be a better driver, a more complete driver and better for my career outside of Formula 1 because this chapter is already done, with a lot of success in my opinion.

“Maybe there are other things outside Formula 1 that I need to conquer, I didn’t succeed in other areas of motorsport, and I will try those.”

Asked if he felt respect through the F1 paddock, Alonso said: “I feel a lot of respect from all my career in Formula 1. I’ve been always considered by the team owners, by the team principals, I’ve been always respected and highly rated.

“So I feel very privileged as I said racing for those teams, having the respect from my teammates, the other drivers, you guys, the media, the fans. It has been perfect. Again, it’s a perfect time to stop, and I feel perfect now.

“When tomorrow or next week, it’s a sad thing that I’m leaving, when I had the respect from all the team principals, the teams, I raced for the best manufacturers, I’ve been paid a lot more than when I was in go-karts thinking what my salary in the future. I have a wonderful life, and I arrive to Mexico, and they give 30,000 faces to the grandstand to say bye-bye. In Abu Dhabi, it will be the same thing.

“I feel so privileged, I feel so happy, so respected around the world, that I can only say thank you. It has been a perfect journey, not a sad journey or a sad end.

“I know that it doesn’t matter what I say, because it’s what the general opinion wants to think or wants to sell.”

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