Fernando Alonso insists he is “not ruling anything out” with regards to his future ahead of what is set to be his final race in Formula 1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
During the summer the Spaniard announced that he will not race in F1 in 2019 and said he views it as a goodbye from the category as he chases the Triple Crown. However, having only confirmed the rest of the World Endurance Championship season and next year’s Indianapolis 500 on his 2019 schedule, Alonso insists he isn’t closing any doors.
“Abu Dhabi will certainly be very emotional race for me, as it will be the end of a long and happy 17 years in Formula 1,” Alonso said. “The time has come for me to move on, but I’m looking forward to ending the season — and my F1 career — on a positive note.
“I’m also pleased that my relationship with McLaren will continue with the Indy 500, and there will be more new challenges together. There are very exciting things ahead, and I’m enthusiastic for what the future will bring. For now, I’m not ruling anything out.
“I’m fully focused on this weekend in Abu Dhabi, and making the most of every day — in the car, with the team, and with my friends and family. Abu Dhabi is a tough circuit, but we don’t have anything to lose, so both Stoffel (Vandoorne) and I will be fighting hard as always.”
Alonso’s teammate Vandoorne will also compete in his last F1 race for McLaren before moving to Formula E, and says it will be a bittersweet weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit.
“I’m heading to Abu Dhabi with mixed emotions,” Vandoorne said. “Although I’ve spent two years as a Formula 1 driver with McLaren, I’ve been with the team for five years and call many of them my friends. I’ve built a great relationship with McLaren and it’s been a significant part of my life. My final grand prix as a McLaren driver on Sunday will be sentimental, but also the right time to say goodbye to this chapter in my career.
“I want to leave Abu Dhabi on a high, so we’ll be putting everything we can into maximizing our weekend and getting the most out of it. I have great memories from Abu Dhabi in my junior career, and it’s a really cool atmosphere as you race from day into night.
“I’m excited for the next challenge — which begins in only a few weeks — but I also want to enjoy every moment in the car and with the team this weekend for the final time.”