|Full Name||Fernando Alonso Díaz|
|Born||29 July 1981, Oviedo|
|1999||Euro Open by Nissan||Campos Motorsport||15||6||6||8||5||164||1st|
|2000||International Formula 3000||Team Astromega||9||1||1||2||2||17||4th|
|FORMULA 1 CAREER|
|First Grand Prix||Last Grand Prix|
|2001 Australian Grand Prix||2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix|
|2001||Minardi||PS01||European 3.0 V10||17||0||0||0||0||0||NC|
|Renault 3.0 V10||10
|2004||Renault||R24||Renault 3.0 V10||18||1||0||4||0||59||4th|
|2005||Renault||R25||Renault 3.0 V10||19||6||7||15||2||133||1st|
|2006||Renault||R26||Renault 2.4 V8||18||6||7||14||5||134||1st|
|2007||McLaren||MP4-22||Mercedes 2.4 V8||17||2||4||12||3||109||3rd|
|2008||Renault||R28||Renault 2.4 V8||18||0||2||3||0||61||5th|
|2009||Renault||R29||Renault 2.4 V8||17||1||0||1||2||26||9th|
|2010||Ferrari||F10||Ferrari 2.4 V8||19||5||5||10||5||252||2nd|
|2011||Ferrari||150° Italia||Ferrari 2.4 V8||19||1||1||10||1||257||4th|
|2012||Ferrari||F2012||Ferrari 2.4 V8||20||3||3||13||0||278||2nd|
|2013||Ferrari||F138||Ferrari 2.4 V8||19||2||2||9||2||242||2nd|
|2014||Ferrari||F14 T||Ferrari 1.6 V6 TH||19||0||0||2||0||161||6th|
|2015||McLaren||MP4-30||Honda 1.6 V6 TH||18||0||0||0||0||11||17th|
|2016||McLaren||MP4-31||Honda 1.6 V6 TH||20||0||0||0||1||54||10th|
|2017||McLaren||MCL32||Honda 1.6 V6 TH||19||0||0||0||1||17||15th|
|2018||McLaren||MCL33||Renault 1.6 V6 TH||21||0||0||0||0||50||11th|
|2018||Le Mans 24 Hours (LMP1)||Toyota Gazoo Racing||1||1||1||1||–||–||1st|
|2018-19||FIA WEC (LMP1)||Toyota Gazoo Racing||8||4||5||7||–||198||1st|
|2019||Daytona 24 Hours (DPi)
Le Mans 24 Hours (LMP1)
Toyota Gazoo Racing
|2020||Dakar Rally (Car)||Toyota||1||–||–||–||–||–||13th|
Fernando Alonso’s two Formula 1 World Championship titles will rank him among the greats in the annals of the sport’s drivers, but in truth he could – and arguably should – have achieved far more.
His career trajectory rather resembled that of Emerson Fittipaldi, the driver whose record as the youngest ever champion in the sport was broken. After a meteoric rise to claim back-to-back titles in 2005-6, a succession of badly-timed team moves, a healthy dose of bad luck, and an increasing perception of being a prima donna ultimately saw his long career peter out with a whimper.
Alonso was introduced to racing at the age of two when his father built him a kart, but it wasn’t until his teenage years when he established himself as a karting prodigy in his homeland. He won the junior World Karting Championship at the age of 15 and finished runner-up in the senior European championship two years later.
He progressed to car racing at the age of seventeen, making the jump into the Euro Open by Nissan championship after a successful test with former F1 driver Adrián Campos’ eponymous team which had just guided Marc Gené to the 1998 title. Alonso immediately impressed, claiming six wins, nine poles and eight fastest laps to win the title as a rookie.
This attracted the attention of Flavio Briatore, who assumed the role of Alonso’s manager and placed him in the International Formula 3000 championship with the Astromega team. His time in F1’s feeder championship initially proved a challenge, but he earned plenty of attention and plaudits with a superb victory at the daunting Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
A test driver role with the Minardi Formula 1 team was his reward, which became a full-time Grand Prix drive in 2001 under the watchful eye of the backmarker outfit’s new owner Paul Stoddart. Alonso once again impressed, thrashing teammates Tarso Marques and Alex Yoong all season and occasionally mixing it with more-fancied midfield runners.
With Briatore’s Benetton team having struggled in 2001, Alonso was reluctant to spend a second season in potentially uncompetitive machinery and instead opted to serve as the team’s test driver for the 2002 season in the knowledge that he would have a full-time race seat the following year.
The Enstone team’s fortunes were on the upswing, and he claimed his first pole position and a podium finish in just his second outing in Malaysia, and later thrilled his home fans with another podium in Spain. Those achievements would have been highlights enough, but at the twisty Hungaroring he won from pole position – lapping Michael Schumacher, no less! – to become the sport’s youngest ever Grand Prix winner at just 22 years of age. Sixth in the Drivers’ Championship standings, comfortably outscoring his more experienced teammate Jarno Trulli, further underlined his credentials.
He remained with the team in 2004, but was unable to add to his sole victory. In a season utterly dominated by Ferrari, he still scored points in 12 races and finished fourth overall in the standings.
The 2005 season’s radical tyre regulations shift swung the advantage to the Michelin-shod runners, and Renault entered the season as potential title contenders. A hat-trick of wins in Malaysia, Bahrain and San Marino, followed by further victories in the European and French Grands Prix helped him to a commanding lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings. A late charge by McLaren’s Kimi Räikkönen saw their title battle go down to the final races, and after a fine win in China he was able to seal his maiden title in Brazil.
Heading into his title defence season, Alonso caused shockwaves by announcing that he would join McLaren on a multi-year deal in 2007. Still to see out his final year at Renault, Alonso got down to business and stormed to an early lead by winning six of the first nine Grands Prix. Then the team’s mass damper suspension system was successfully protested and banned, and with their advantage negated, this allowed Schumacher and Ferrari to eat into their points margin. Just when it seemed that Schumacher would snatch the crown, a rare Ferrari engine failure at the Japanese Grand Prix swung the advantage back to Alonso, who secured back-to-back championship titles in Brazil at the age of 26.
He moved onto McLaren for 2007, assuming the mantle of number-one driver alongside rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton. How shocked he must have been to be challenged at the outset by the team’s long-time protégé, only to find his frustrations compounded by McLaren’s refusal to impose team orders. Alonso became an increasingly brooding and isolated figure, and matters came to a head in qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix where he deliberately blocked Hamilton in the pit lane in an attempt to deny the youngster a shot at pole position.
While he and Hamilton claimed four victories apiece over the course of the season, it was Räikkönen in the Ferrari who snuck through to secure the Drivers’ Championship crown by just one point at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. Alonso ended up tied on points with Hamilton, but was classified third overall on countback. His relationship with McLaren team principal Ron Dennis having completely broken down, the two parties negotiated an early divorce.
After rejecting an offer to join Red Bull Racing, Alonso was handed a lifeline for 2008 by Briatore to return to Renault. The R28 was initially an uncompetitive machine and he struggled to scrape finishes in the lower points-paying positions until the team’s mid-season developments started to pay dividends. His win the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix, however, his achievement was ultimately tainted by teammate Nelson Piquet Jr admitting that he had been instructed to deliberately crash to trigger the Safety Car interruption that propelled Alonso to victory. A win on merit at Suzuka followed, helping Alonso to fifth overall in the standings.
With a deal to join Ferrari in 2010 in his pocket, Alonso spent another holding year at Renault in 2009, however the car was even less competitive than its predecessor. A single podium finish was his best result.
Taking over Räikkönen’s seat at Ferrari after the team bought out the disinterested Finn’s contract, Alonso set about regrouping a team in desperate need of leadership. Although equipped with a car less competitive than the Red Bull Racing Renaults, Alonso still claimed five wins and led Sebastian Vettel by eight points heading into the final race. Instead, a terrible strategic error at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that saw him trapped in the midfield, denying him a third championship crown.
Ferrari’s 2011 challenger was a poor car, whose shortcomings were further highlighted against the utterly dominant combination of Vettel and Red Bull Racing. Alonso outperformed his car, claiming ten podiums and a single (surprise) win at Silverstone, finishing fourth overall in the standings.
Having signed a three-year contract extension that would see him remain at Ferrari until 2016, Alonso remained a competitive force in 2012 and 2013 with a further five wins across the two seasons. On both occasions, he finished championship runner-up as Vettel swept to four titles in a row.
Alonso was by now becoming increasingly frustrated, and the nail in the coffin came in 2014 when Ferrari found itself struggling to adapt to the new turbo-hybrid engine regulations. The mighty factory Mercedes’ swept all before them, while Alonso only managed two podium finishes.
Amazingly, seven years after one of the most acrimonious divorces in the sport’s history, he would reunite with McLaren as it also welcomed Honda back into the fold.
A heavy crash in pre-season testing was not the start either party wanted – Alonso was sidelined from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with a concussion – but the writing was already on the wall. McLaren’s partnership with Honda was a disaster, with the Japanese marque’s engine proving uncompetitive and unreliable from the outset.
Over three agonising seasons, Alonso was never once in contention for a podium and just struggled to scrape points’ finishes when the engine held together. His frustration and public blow-ups became increasingly frequent, with McLaren struggling to handle its dispirited driver.
A silver lining came in 2017 when Alonso drove a McLaren-backed, Honda-powered, Andretti Autosport run entry at the Indianapolis 500. Despite no oval racing experience, he qualified a superb fifth-fastest and led the race for 27 laps. In the mix for a famous rookie victory, his hopes evaporated when his engine let go. The irony was lost on no one…
By mid-2017, McLaren and Honda opted to end its unsuccessful partnership as the team desperately tried to hang onto Alonso’s services for another season. The 2018 campaign, powered by a customer Renault motor, was little better and he finally opted to bow out of Grand Prix racing.
Meanwhile, he was dovetailing his Formula 1 racing with a full-time drive in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the factory Toyota team. Partnered with Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, the trio won the Le Mans 24 Hours while Toyota cakewalked a thin LMP1 field to the title.
With victory at the Indianapolis 500 needed to achieve the ‘Triple Crown’ of racing, Alonso was entered by McLaren for the 2019 event. A crash in practice forced him to attempt qualifying in an incorrectly set up spare car, but he failed to make the 33-car starting grid. A further attempt is planned for the 2020 event.
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