Daniel Ricciardo’s surprise switch from Red Bull to Renault ended Alonso’s chances with the French firm, while Red Bull bosses indicated that they will promote one of their junior drivers rather than consider Alonso.
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While he won’t race in F1 next year, Alonso is unlikely to retire, saying that "new, exciting challenges are around the corner". 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.
Alonso could also pursue opportunities in the IndyCar Series; he skipped last year’s Monaco Grand Prix to take part in the Indianapolis 500 — leading much of the race before retiring — and expressed an interest to return.
After making his F1 debut with Minardi in 2001, Alonso spent a season as test driver with Benetton before claiming a race seat with the team when it became the works Renault squad in 2003. He scored his first win in Hungary in 2003 and became the (then) youngest champion in F1 history in 2005, adding another title the following year.
A switch to McLaren in 2007 led to a big rivalry with his rookie team-mate Lewis Hamilton, and Alonso was a key figure in unveiling the ‘spygate’ row. Alonso returned to Renault in 2008, before joining Ferrari in 2010. He claimed 11 wins with the Italian squad, but never put together a title-winning season, and split from the team after struggling in a winless 2014 season. That then led to a return to the McLaren team.
Alonso has started 302 F1 races so far in his career and should pass Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button (who both have 306 starts) to become second on the all-time list by the end of the year. Rubens Barrichello holds the record for the most starts with 322.
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