FERNANDO ALONSO has announced that he will retire from F1 at the end of the season.
After 17 glorious years in the sport the Spaniard has decided to call it a day.
Who is Fernando Alonso?
Fernando Alonso was born in Oviedo, Asturias, Spain on July 29, 1981.
After a period as Benetton test driver, he made his F1 race debut with Minardi in 2001, becoming the third-youngest ever driver.
In 2003, he joined Renault, winning his first world championship in 2005 and ending five straight years of dominance from Michael Schumacher.
Another world championship was to follow in 2006.
Alonso then moved to McLaren in 2007, where he would endure a bad-tempered rivalry with Lewis Hamilton.
Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari went on to beat the Spaniard to the title by one point that year.
Alonso then replaced Raikkonen at Ferrari in 2009 and spent five years there before returning to McLaren in 2015.
In 2015, Alonso opened his own museum in Oviedo, with a circuit named ‘Museo y Circuito Fernando Alonso’, dedicated to his racing career.
Despite failing to build on his 2005 and 2006 successes, Alonso remained a huge hit with fans throughout his career due to his aggressive and exciting racing style.
What has Fernando Alonso won?
As well as the 2005 and 2006 F1 world championship, Alonso won 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018 on his debut in the Toyota team, alongside Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi.
The Spaniard now only requires the Indy 500 to complete motorsport’s Triple Crown, which has only previously been won by Graham Hill.
Alonso attempted to win the race at Indianapolis in 2017 but crashed out late on despite an impressive drive.
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Why has Fernando Alonso retired from F1?
Alonso’s retirement means he is expected to fully focus on winning the Indy 500, and thereby completing the Triple Crown.
The Spaniard made a statement saying: “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.
“There are still several grands prix to go this season, and I will take part in them with more commitment and passion than ever.
“Let’s see what the future brings; new exciting challenges are around the corner. I’m having one of the happiest times ever in my life but I need to go on exploring new adventures.
“I want to thank everyone at McLaren. My heart is with the team forever.
“I know they 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.
“I have built so many great relationships with many fantastic people at McLaren, and they have given me the opportunity to broaden my horizons and race in other categories.
“I feel I am a more complete driver now than ever.
“I made this decision some months ago and it was a firm one.
“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.
“Finally, I would also like to thank my former teams, team-mates, competitors, colleagues, partners, journalists and everyone I have worked with in my F1 career.
“And, especially, my fans all over the world. I am quite sure our paths will cross again in the future.”