Fernando Alonso retires from Formula 1

Alonso will not race in F1 in 2019			Image courtesy McLaren

"There is a time for everyone to make a change and Fernando has decided the end of this season to be his", said Brown."We respect his decision, even if we believe he is in the finest form of his career".

"I have enjoyed every single minute of those incredible seasons and I can not thank enough the people who have contributed to making them all so special".

During qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2015, an engine failure in his McLaren left him unable to set a time in Q1 so he took to the deckchair and enjoyed the sun while the action went on around him.

While he won't race in F1 next year, Alonso is unlikely to retire, saying that "new, exciting challenges are around the corner".

Felipe Massa says he can understand why Daniel Ricciardo made a decision to quit Red Bull.Ricciardo, one of F1's top drivers, is leaving the top-three team at the end of the year to join the work's.

"Fernando, who turned 37 in July, is competing in his 17th F1 season, his fifth with McLaren, and has amassed 32 wins, 22 pole positions and 97 podiums to date". He is committed to completing the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship "super season" with the works Toyota team, having won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with that squad this year.

The 37-year-old McLaren driver won championships racing for Renault in 2005 and 2006.

Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors' picks. He went to McLaren in 2007 - where he was up against a then-rookie Lewis Hamilton - followed by a further stint with Renault in the 2008 and 2009 seaons.

'When I barely knew how to walk, I ran towards your noise without knowing anything about you.

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"I will miss you at the end of the season". I know you love me and be certain that I love you too'.

"I have seen you changing, sometimes for good and sometimes for in my opinion for bad".

But for many Formula 1 drivers, the image was a sad one of a driver who should have been near the front of the grid, but because of mechanical problems and an uncompetitive auto left him fighting at the back.

Alonso thanked Chase Carey (F1 chief executive officer) and Liberty Media in his statement "for the efforts made to change my mind".

'But today, I have some bigger challenges than those you can offer me.

"I can only be grateful to you, and the people that are part of you for giving me so many cultures, traditions, languages, wonderful people".

"I want to thank everyone at McLaren", the Spaniard said. "I am quite sure our paths will cross again in the future".

"Fernando is not only an outstanding ambassador for McLaren but also for Formula 1", added McLaren boss Zak Brown in the release.

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