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Fernando Alonso: Reasons for leaving F1 misunderstood

Fernando Alonso insists the lack of a competitive car is not the reason he is leaving Formula One at the end of the year.

Alonso announced his decision to walk away from the sport at the end of 2018 in August after enduring a third consecutive season in an off-the-pace McLaren. His options to move to a more competitive team appeared limited at the time, but he insists he was offered a drive by Red Bull for 2019.

Regardless, Alonso insists he is leaving F1 because he has achieved all his goals in the category and not because he is no longer winning.

"No, I could have had a competitive car [next year] -- I'm not stopping because I don't have a competitive car," he said. "I've been saying the same thing since August: I'm stopping because I did everything I wanted in Formula One.

"I arrived in Formula One, I won grands prix in Formula One, I won world championships in Formula One, I break records in Formula One. I drove for McLaren, for Renault, for Ferrari -- I am 37 years old, and I cannot do more in Formula One.

"All the things that I dreamt of in Formula One are done. There are new things in motorsport that are bigger than Formula One. From August, it's been the same thing: 'It's a shame, and Formula One should look that Fernando has to stop and so on...."

"There's the truth and there is your opinion, the general opinion. I stop because I want, not because I've been forced to stop."

Alonso is targeting motorsport's unofficial triple crown, which requires victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indy 500. This year he added Le Mans to his two Monaco victories and he has not ruled out taking part in next year's Indy 500 as a one-off similar to his participation in the race in 2017.

"In Formula One, there is always the feeling that F1 is the biggest thing in the world. And if someone leaves, people don't understand that maybe he wants to go and they think that he has to go because there is not a competitive car to race with. I could have maybe a competitive car next year, or maybe McLaren next year is super-competitive, who knows? But I don't want even to try.

"I want to stop next year because I think I can be a better driver, a more compete driver and better for my career outside of Formula One because this chapter is already done, with a lot of success in my opinion. Maybe there are other things outside Formula One that I need to conquer, I didn't succeed in other areas of motorsport, and I will try those."