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Fernando Alonso: former F1 champion to 'explore new adventures'

Former F1 driver Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso will leave the World Endurance Championship after the end of the current season.

The former Formula 1 champion’s Toyota team said he would “explore new adventures within the Toyota family”, without explaining what those might be.

Alonso tested a Dakar Rally-winning Toyota Hilux in March and has been linked with an attempt at the iconic desert-based endurance event in 2020.

The two-time F1 champion is also seeking to win the Indianapolis 500.

That would complete motorsport’s unofficial ‘Triple Crown’ of Monaco Grand Prix and/or F1 world title, Le Mans 24 Hours and Indy 500 and make him only the second man in history after Graham Hill to do that.

The 37-year-old won Le Mans with Toyota last year and is racing at Indy for a second time with a new McLaren team this month.

Alonso, who has two more races to complete with Toyota at Spa in Belgium this month and Le Mans next, said he had “enjoyed” racing for the team but added: “This chapter is ending.

“Winning Le Mans is one of the highlights of my career as part of my Triple Crown challenge and I will always remember that victory, which we achieved together as a team last year.”

Alonso, who also has an advisory role at McLaren, said at the Bahrain Grand Prix last month that he was not planning an F1 comeback – but could not completely rule it out.

“My idea is not to come back,” he said. “When I said last year bye-bye, it was because I felt this chapter was already complete. Coming back is not in the plan.

“But if something happens and a great opportunity arrives, I will probably consider it. I don’t close any doors to anything in the future.”

Alonso will be replaced in the Toyota team by New Zealander Brendon Hartley, who has won the World Endurance Championship twice with Porsche, and had an ill-fated F1 season with Toro Rosso last year.

Hartley said: “I believe I am returning to WEC an even stronger driver following my experience in Formula 1 and I look forward to getting on track and building a strong relationship with my new team.”

This article is from the BBC Sport website / bbc.co.uk - Fernando Alonso: former F1 champion to 'explore new adventures'

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