Currently reading: Fernando Alonso won't race in F1 in 2019
Double world champion will step away from grand prix racing after 17 years to seek 'new, exciting challenges'

Double world champion Fernando Alonso will not race in Formula 1 next season.

The 37-year-old Spaniard won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, and has finished runner-up in the championship on three occasions. In total, he has so far taken 32 wins, 22 pole positions and 97 podiums. Alonso has driven for McLaren since 2015, but has failed to score a podium during his time there.

“After 17 wonderful years in this amazing sport, it’s time for me to make a change and move on,” said Alonso, who confirmed that he will complete this season.


Alonso’s decision follows increasing frustration with his inability to land a car capable of winning races. With no seat available at Mercedes or Ferrari, Alonso’s best hopes of a competitive car lay with Red Bull or the works Renault team.

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.



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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.

Read more

Alonso to contest full WEC season after race moves to avoid F1 clash

Alonso stars in 2017 Indy 500 before engine failure

F1 2019: Ricciardo in shock Renault switch

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Peter Cavellini 14 August 2018

A year late...?

 Yes, yes I think so, he managed to get an Engine change and it didn’t work, so halfway through and there has been very little improvement, ok, he’s kicked Vandorne Butt a this season as well, now he’s going on an Alonso retirement meaning he’ll look at 2020 to see if it worth coming back, personally, I think he should retire and go do Lemans or his other passion cycling....

manicm 14 August 2018

My sympathy for Alonso is

My sympathy for Alonso is limited. His latter half career failure in F1 was largely brought upon by himself. He should have stuck it out at Ferrari but apparently became too greedy, making demands in case the car was subpar etc. Yes Ferrari made mistakes too, but look where they are now.
eseaton 14 August 2018

Are they champions?

Are they champions?
david RS 14 August 2018

It's sure in rally the pilot

It's sure in rally the pilot has got a far more important part in the performance than in F1.

How will be the F1 without Fernand ? ;-)

He has not had a car as high as his talent in recent years.