Since announcing that he won’t race for McLaren in 2019, Alonso has always maintained that he hasn’t completely ruled out an eventual return to F1 if the right circumstances came about.
For the time being, his focus for next season is on the Indy 500 and the remaining three races in his WEC Toyota contract.
“Right now, it is difficult to think about coming back,” he said on the eve of his final start in Abu Dhabi. “But yes, the door is not closed. I think the first reason is because I don’t know how I will feel next year.
“I’ve been doing this this my whole life, maybe next year by April, or May I am desperate on the sofa, so maybe I find a way somehow to come back.
“But it is not the initial idea. It is more about myself, if I come back it is not for any particular reason or deadline, or something that has to happen. It is going to be more how I feel in the middle of next year.”
Alonso admitted that selecting individual highlights from his F1 career was not easy.
“More than races or memories or victories, the best thing I have from that long time is the people I worked with, the people that I share half of my life. I am 37 and I raced here 18 years,” said Alonso.
“Half of my life with a lot of talented engineers, designers, mechanics, you guys, the media, everyone, we share a lot of things, lot of days over the seasons.
“That is the best thing I will always remember about F1, how you approach these kind of races, the philosophy behind a grand prix, the preparation, the discipline in all areas of the team.
“Now racing in other series, you realise F1 is a step higher and you try to find perfection every two weeks around the world.”
Asked what he thought his legacy might be Alonso singled out his kart track, and his efforts to help youngsters get started in the sport.
“Somehow working with the kids and the karting school, the museum, trying to do all the things with the fans and the younger generation, trying to help them if I can with the knowledge that I have all these the years, and also in terms of facilities or something that I didn’t probably have in my time. If they have dreams and the talent, I try to help them.”
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, in the press conference
Photo by: Andy Hone / LAT Images