Fernando Alonso’s Formula One career is nearing its end.
The 37-year-old McLaren driver announced Tuesday that he intends to retire from F1 at the end of the current season. Alonso, who teased a big announcement over the weekend, hasn’t specified what he plans to do in 2019, but it sure sounds like he’ll continue racing in some form.
“After 17 wonderful years in this amazing sport, it’s time for me to make a change and move on,” Alonso said in a statement through McLaren. “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. 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.”
Currently in his 17th season in F1, Alonso is a two-time World Champion who has amassed 32 wins, 22 poles and 97 podium finishes. The Spaniard hasn’t landed a top-three finish since 2014, however, as his raw talent has been hampered by McLaren’s lack of pace.
Alonso bid farewell to F1 in an emotional video, which you can see below:
What Alonso elects to do next will be one of the biggest motorsports storylines to follow in the coming months.
A winner of both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the F1 Monaco Grand Prix, Alonso now just needs to win the Verizon IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 to complete racing’s “triple crown.” His lone Indy 500 bid came in 2017, when he finished 29th after an engine failure.
After helping Toyota win Le Mans in June, Alonso said “it’s on” when discussing the triple crown.
Speculation of Alonso switching to IndyCar was all the rage last offseason, with Alonso himself admitting he enjoyed watching the chaos unfold. Those rumors are sure to pick back up now that his F1 days are numbered, and IndyCar itself seems willing to fuel the fire.
NASCAR fans, meanwhile, shouldn’t hold their breath on the possibility of Alonso switching to stock cars. Although the Spaniard hasn’t completely shut the door on a move to NASCAR, he has said he would need “a lot of practice” before making the switch, and really seems more focussed on other circuits.
Still, Alonso has proven to be something of an enigma in the motorsports world, so fans should expect the unexpected.