Fernando Alonso to leave Formula 1 at end of season

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The Spaniard won the 2005 and 2006 world drivers’ title with Renault and has been runner-up three times.

Alonso, who is ninth in the standings with nine races to go this season, has accumulated 32 wins, 22 pole positions and 97 podiums to date.

“After 17 wonderful years in this amazing sport, it’s time for me to make a change and move on,” the 37-year-old told his McLaren team’s website.

“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.”

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Alonso thanked his teammates and fans, as well as Formula One Group CEO Chase Carey for trying to persuade him to reconsider.

“I made this decision some months ago and it was a firm one,” he added.

Alonso made his F1 debut for Minardi at the Australian Grand Prix in 2001 before joining Renault as a test driver in 2002.

The Spaniard’s 2005 title ended Michael Schumacher’s five-year reign and made him the then-youngest world champion in F1 history, at the age of 24 years and 59 days.

He endured a tumultuous and often acrimonious season alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2007 before a brief return to Renault followed by a four-year stint with Ferrari from 2010. He rejoined McLaren in 2015.

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