Fernando Alonso says he is keeping all possibilities open regarding a possible return to Formula 1 in 2021.

The two-time world champion quit F1 at the end of 2018 following an uncompetitive second stint at McLaren and has since gone on to pursue other opportunities in motorsport, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice and LMP1 World Endurance Championship title.

Alonso is set to continue in his quest to win the Indianapolis 500 after a second failed attempt earlier this year, while he is also preparing to contest the Dakar Rally for the first time in 2020.

“[The regulation changes] in 2021, I think that’s the reason why I keep open possibilities, because maybe things mix a little bit with the new rules,” Alonso told Sky.

“So let’s see next year what opportunity comes.”

McLaren has enjoyed a much-improved year following Alonso’s departure and clinched fourth spot in the constructors’ championship after Carlos Sainz scored the team’s first podium in five years in Brazil.

Asked if he would have liked to have raced this year given McLaren’s competitiveness, Alonso replied: “Not really. We all - not predicted, but we all hoped that things could change this year.

“McLaren, it was, it is and it will be always a top team in Formula 1, and I think, sooner or later, these big results will come. Luckily enough it came this year.

“[Brazil] was a strange race, it was not pure pace position, but hopefully next year is another step in the right direction.”

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who raced alongside Alonso at McLaren during his rookie campaign in 2007, said he would welcome the Spaniard back to F1.

“I’d be more just happy that I won’t be the oldest here,” he joked. “So welcome an older dude, he can come along.

“Fernando’s obviously a well-accomplished driver. It’s interesting to see in the past, obviously, with drivers wanting to come back, like Michael [Schumacher], and it’s something you’ve done your whole life.

“I haven’t spoken to Fernando so I don’t know how he’s been feeling or how much he’s missed it, but I don’t think it would be bad for the sport.

“Ultimately, there’s a lot of young kids on their way up and there’s only 20 seats, so he has also had his period of time there.

“But if there’s no other good youngsters coming through then there definitely is space for some that are currently here that probably could be replaced. So I would welcome it.”

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen said he would also welcome Alonso returning, but reckons he should only come back if he has a competitive car.

“It would be good to see him if he could come back but only in a competitive car,” he explained.

“Otherwise I think it’s just a waste of time for him. But I think he knows that himself.”



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