Fernando Alonso says he intends to return the FIA World Endurance Championship in the future following a “short break” from the series.

Toyota announced on Wednesday that two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso would be departing its LMP1 team line-up at the end of the current WEC season, with Brendon Hartley being named as his replacement.

Alonso won last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and jointly leads the drivers’ championship with two rounds remaining in the WEC season, but has decided against continuing with Toyota into the 2019-20 campaign.

Speaking to select media including Crash.net at Spa on Wednesday, Alonso said that committing to another year in the WEC would have shut off some racing opportunities for next year that he still hopes to pursue.

“Maybe there are different challenges in the near future, in the short term, that could be interesting for me - not only with Toyota, but also outside the WEC,” Alonso said.

“To commit to the new season until June 2020 was closing some of the opportunities that may come later in the year.”

However, Alonso stressed that he intends to return to the WEC in the future after taking a break from the series, citing his enjoyment in the championship.

“I took the decision to stop this programme now, in the short-term. I think in the medium-term, long-term, 100 percent, I will come back to WEC,” Alonso said.

“I think it’s a series that I really enjoy. I like the type of racing here. I like the unpredictable races you find with all the traffic and the things you need to chase.

“I like the team spirit, sharing the car with teammates. meI love the championship. I think the ACO has been always very helpful to me and to everyone to accommodate this program.

“I definitely think it’s just a short break that I will take in WEC.”

Alonso remained coy when asked about the other opportunities on the horizon for 2020, but said he is “very open” with his plans.

“As I said last year when I stopped Formula 1, I feel in the best moment of my career. I’ve never been as quick and as prepared as now,” Alonso said.

“I feel strong and ready for big challenges. It can be Formula 1 in 2020, it can be IndyCar. It can be different series outside all of this.

“If I remain free, in the second part of the year I will have that possibility to decide what I do in 2020. That’s the reason why I couldn’t commit in May.

“I need to wait and see what is going to happen in the next couple of months. Being free of any obligations is the best way I could approach those opportunities. If I was already committed with something, maybe those opportunities would not be there.

“I have two or three ideas on my mind that you will probably know in a couple of months. I am working on those and we will continue this challenge of mastering different ways of motorsport.”

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