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Alonso refuses to rule out F1 return

18 Nov 2018, 19:31 ( 6 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report by Michael Butterworth
Sauber's driver Marcus Ericsson (Front) of Sweden and Mclaren's driver Fernando Alonso of Spain drives in the first practise session of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix Night Race held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore, on Sept. 14, 2018. File Photo Xinhua.

Fernando Alonso has refused to rule out returning to Formula 1 in 2020, and says he is considering competing in a variety of different racing series over the next couple of years.

   The Spaniard is leaving F1 at the end of 2018 after several disappointing seasons in an uncompetitive McLaren. But the two-time F1 world champion is still regarded by many as one of the fastest drivers in the world, and is unlikely to be short of offers if he decides to race elsewhere.

   While Alonso refused to elaborate on which specific events he was interested in, the 37-year-old said he was looking at options in addition to his confirmed outing in the 2019 Indianapolis 500 with McLaren, and the remainder of the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship with Toyota Gazoo Racing.

   The Spaniard is also due to test a NASCAR vehicle as part of a promotional event in Bahrain later this month, fueling speculation that he plans to compete in the US-based stock car series.

   "There's going to be a couple more challenges than the Indy 500," Alonso told Xinhua on Saturday before the WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai. "I feel I need to recharge my batteries a bit next year, but in 2020, of course it can be a possibility to have a full season in IndyCar, a full season back in F1, or a full season in another series."

   With his enthusiasm for F1 seemingly having dimmed in recent years, Alonso has made no secret of his desire to win motorsport's Triple Crown, an unofficial collection of some of the world's most prestigious motor races. Having already won the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Oviedo-born driver is keen to win the Indy 500 and complete the set, and said his experience of competing at Indy in 2017 should stand him in good stead for next year's race.

   "That experience is going to be key, because I now know the race, and I know the event. It's a long two weeks, and though the qualifying and race format seem easy to people who have done it for years, everything was new for me, so I think that experience will be a huge help."

   Discussing the SAIC International Circuit, which plays host to the 6 Hours of Shanghai and many other international motorsport events, Alonso was full of praise for a track at which he won the F1 Chinese Grand Prix in 2005 and 2013.

   "I like it. I think it's one of the best circuits on the calendar. It's challenging, with very long and unique corners, and I always enjoy driving here. The fans are also very passionate here, they always follow you all the way from the airport to the circuit and the hotel, so it's a fun place."