Alonso relishing his fresh start after deciding to move on from F1
Fernando Alonso will leave McLaren and "move on" from Formula One at the end of the season, the two-time former world champion has announced.
The 37-year-old will finish the current season and will not race in F1 in 2019.
Alonso said in a statement: "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, 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."
Alonso's current team, McLaren, said in a statement: "McLaren Racing today confirms that double F1 world champion Fernando Alonso will not race in Formula 1 in 2019.
"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. Beyond his two titles - in 2005 he became the then-youngest world champion in F1 history - Fernando has been Championship runner-up three times."
Alonso was F1 champion in 2005 and 2006 while with Renault, with his first ending a five-year dominance by Michael Schumacher and Ferrari.
He went on to join McLaren in 2007 before returning to Renault in 2008. Alonso then made the switch to Ferrari two years later and stayed for four years, before rejoining McLaren once again.
However, Alonso left the door open to a return to F1 - strongly hinting that this could be a hiatus rather than a retirement.
"I want to thank everyone at McLaren," the Spaniard said. "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."