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2018 F1

Alonso will not race F1 in 2019

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Marking 14th August as a day he would make an announcement on twitter, Fernando Alonso announced that he won’t be a part of the 2019 Formula 1 grid. While McLaren made an official announcement on their team website and social media accounts, the double world champion posts a sentimental video of his career in Formula 1. While he leaves the door ajar for a possible return in the future, there will be ramifications on the driver market in F1.

The 37-year-old Spanish driver “After 17 wonderful years in this amazing sport, it’s time for me to make a change and move on. 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”.

While he made this decision several months ago according to his statement he said “Nevertheless, I would like to sincerely thank Chase Carey and Liberty Media for the efforts made to change my mind and everyone who has contacted me during this time.”

The McLaren driver has always been regarded as an immense talent on the grid, the one who would intimidate his rivals and make his presence felt with every race he has driven, whether it has been a competitive Renault, an average Ferarri, or an underpowered McLaren. However, if his exit is not temporary and a permanent departure from the sport, the void will be difficult to fill and it marks an end of an era of natural talent that made its way into the sport.

His career spiraled downwards after his move to McLaren in 2016, who had switched to Honda power and his bitter spat with Ferrari which left no room to return to the scarlet squad, or any competitive team. While Renault remained his only factory team option, the team he debuts with and won two titles had their seat filled up when Daniel Ricciardo announced his move to the Enstone team earlier this month. His former team-mate Jenson Button too announced a similar sabbatical after 17 years in the sport in 2016, and eventually retired in 2017.

Although Alonso knows he has more potential and is still in his best form, he left a cryptic message that would keep his fans hoping for a potential return saying “I know they (McLaren) will come back stronger and better in the future and it could be the right moment for me to be back in the series; that would make me really happy.”

The Spanish drivers’ next announcement will probably be the Indy Car series as he chases the triple crown of motorsport which comprises of a victory at the 24 hours of Le Mans, Monaco Grand Prix and the Indy 500. The iconic American event remains the only avenue for him to inspire with his talent and create his own record. Although he participates in the event in 2017 and was leading the race until an engine problem forced him to retire from the race, a second attempt looks like a possibility.

Applauding Alonso’s remarkable talent McLaren CEO Zak Brown said, “Fernando is not only an outstanding ambassador for McLaren but also for Formula 1. His 17 years in the sport, as arguably the pre-eminent driver of his generation and undoubtedly an F1 great, have added another layer to Formula 1’s rich history.”

Alonso was one of the few drivers on the current grid to fight a title against Michael Schumacher, and his first title in 2005 end the German’s era of domination. His championship winning years were the start of a new era in the sport and were one of the most exciting years of the V8 era of F1. The 37-year-old Spaniard’s versatile style of driving and potential still remain uncredited of their due worth, since many in the sport would say he was capable much more than two titles.

While his announcement adds another twist into Formula 1’s silly season, his replacement becomes the topic of discussion. Carlos Sainz whose Renault seat has been taken by Daniel Ricciardo for the 2019 season could be a potential replacement, or maybe the team’s reserve and young driving talent Lando Norris. Until the Hungarian GP, it looked more likely that the Spaniard would spend another year with the Woking team and Stoffel Vandoorne would be replaced. However, with Alonso’s announcement one can consider Vandoorne being paired with another driver for the future. With the second half of the Formula 1 season commencing with the Belgium GP, Formula 1 still has nine more races that will feature the Spaniard in his McLaren.

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