Fernando Alonso wants to return to the FIA World Endurance Championship in the future despite not being a part of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s LMP1 driver lineup next season.
The two-time Formula 1 world champion and defending 24 Hours of Le Mans winner will be replaced by Brendon Hartley at the Japanese manufacturer for the 2019-20 campaign, as confirmed on Wednesday.
Alonso told reporters ahead of this weekend’s Six Hours of Spa that his desire to tackle “different challenges” next year made it difficult to confirm his availability for the full winter schedule.
“To commit to the new season until June 2020 was closing some of the opportunities that may come later in the year,” he said.
“I took the decision to stop this program now, in the short-term. I think in the medium-term, long-term, 100 percent I will come back to WEC. It’s a series that I really enjoy.
“I like the type of racing here. I like the unpredictable races you find with all the traffic and the things you need to chase. I like the team spirit, sharing the car with teammates. So I love the championship.
“I think the ACO has been always very helpful to me and to everyone to accommodate this program. So I definitely think it’s just a short break that I will take in WEC.”
Alonso affirmed that he would only return to the WEC if a seat became available in the top class for him to compete for outright honors.
He also said that he would “absolutely” search for a drive with Toyota for his return to the championship.
“If I want to race again at Le Mans, I would like to fight for the overall victory, not only for the class victory,” he said.
“Whatever is the top category in the future, or LMP1 if they keep going for a couple of years, that would be the option.
“This [Toyota] team is just amazing how prepared they are and how professional everyone is. The structure they have behind them in Cologne, everyone is at the top of their level.
“The team is nearly perfect on everything it does – on the strategy, on the pit stops, on the tire selection, reliability.”
Alonso’s 2020 plans have not yet been announced, although the Spaniard has not ruled out a full-season in IndyCar or a participation in the Dakar Rally, as well as a return to Formula 1.
He will make his second appearance in the Indianapolis 500, which forms the final leg of his quest for the motorsport ‘Triple Crown’, later this month.