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Fernando Alonso has revealed that he came close to quitting Formula 1 following a disappointing 2017 campaign.
Honda failed to provide McLaren with a competitive car for the third year in a row and Alonso's decision to skip the Monaco Grand Prix in order to drive in the Indianapolis 500 prompted speculation that he would walk away from the sport at the end of the year.
After McLaren ended his partnership with Honda by agreeing a new deal with Renault, Alonso committed to another season in Formula 1, and the former double world champion has since revealed that he did not want to leave the sport on a low note.
"I felt it was not the right time for me to step out. Not right now, not after these results, not with this feeling. I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life," Alonso told F1 Racing magazine.
McLaren endured a difficult pre-season campaign before setting the fastest time at last week's test in Barcelona and he is looking forward to feeling the buzz that comes from challenging for podiums.
"I hadn't felt it for a while but now I feel i could do a very good season if we have a good package this year because I am sure I will be able to put in the 'extra' that I have put in all my career," he said.
"That has been the most difficult thing to give to the team over the past three years: the commitment, the work, simulator feedback.
"That's something that comes naturally to a racer but to give extra when you're in Mexico and you have a power-unit penalty and starting last because of a 35-place engine penalty, things like the extra two-10ths or moves in the race - or maybe a magic start - don't come out. It's not conscious. It's just how you feel on the day."
The 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship is live on eir Sport with the season getting underway with the Rolex Australian Grand Prix on March 25.
Image: Getty Images/Lars Baron