Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso stats

Fernando Alonso stats

Fernando Alonso stats

PROFILE

Regarded by many as the greatest all-round driver in the sport, two-time champion Fernando Alonso found his spiritual home at Ferrari in 2010. His strength of character made him an instant hit in Maranello, but ultimately he and the team have yet to win a championship together.

Following a successful period in karts, in which he became world champion, he stepped up to the Euro Open Championship for Nissan in 1999 and won the title. He moved to F3000 the following year, but F1 had already recognised his talents and he landed a testing role with Minardi. He got his first F1 seat with the team in 2001 and put in some impressive performances. In order to further his career he opted to return to a testing role, this time with Renault, the following year.

Renault rewarded him with a race seat in 2003 and he recorded his first win at the Hungarian Grand Prix just a few months later. In 2005 he became the youngest ever world champion, beating Kimi Raikkonen to the title. Six wins from the first nine races followed in 2006 and even though Michael Schumacher kept the pressure on, he could not deny Alonso his second title.

The Spaniard joined McLaren in 2007 and while the opening races of the season went smoothly, it soon became clear that tensions were building between Alonso and team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Unhappy that he had to battle with his own team-mate for success, he finished third in the championship and left McLaren under a cloud to rejoin Renault.

With the undisputed No.1 status he craved in 2008, his second two-year stint with Renault was relatively disappointing with just two wins, one of which included the Crashgate-tainted Singapore Grand Prix. The 2009 package was uncompetitive – he scored just one podium all year – and after months of rumour, he agreed a multi-year deal to join Ferrari.

Following a near-miss in 2010, in which Alonso lost the title due to a strategic error at the final round, he hoped to go one better in 2011 but Vettel and Red Bull proved dominant.

At the start of 2012 it looked as though things were going to get worse, but a series of gritty results in an uncompetitive car left Alonso leading the championship over the summer break. However, in the second half of the year two retirements due to first-lap collisions allowed Vettel to take the lead into the final round in Brazil. Alonso finished just three points off the Red Bull driver at the final count after a gutsy campaign in which he arguably earned more respect than the the new three-time world champion.

2015 promised more, with Ferrari trying to deliver the car to match Alonso’s performances and starting strongly with second place in Australia and two wins from the first five races. However, such a complete season was hard to follow and mistakes were more common; most notably when he broke his front wing in Malaysia after hitting Vettel, failed to pit and retired when the wing failed at the start of lap two.

The encouraging start faded away and tension appeared to be rising between Alonso and Ferrari as public jibes at the team received short shrift from president Luca di Montezemolo. The arrival of Kimi Raikkonen alongside him for 2015 makes for a potentially explosive season if the car doesn’t match Alonso’s expectations once again.

Strengths and Weaknesses
He has astonishing consistency and will battle hard regardless of his position and chances of a strong finish. He has made it clear that he demands No.1 status in a team and struggles to come to terms with competitive team-mates.

Career High
After qualifying 16th in Brazil in 2005, he raced to third position to claim his first championship and end Michael Schumacher’s period of dominance in the sport.

Career Low
With tension between himself, McLaren and team-mate Lewis Hamilton reaching a peak in qualifying for the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix, he deliberately blocked the pit box to ensure that Hamilton could not start his final qualifying lap ahead of the chequered flag. He claimed pole position as a result but was subsequently penalised.

Quotes
“I might not be fastest, or the most technical but I am consistent.”

“Instead of complaining, moaning and bitching, which is what Alonso is doing at the moment, all he needs to do is concentrate on driving quicker.” Niki Lauda.

“I don’t see many weaknesses in Alonso when he is behind the wheel – he has the full deck of cards. Right now [he] is the most complete F1 driver out there in my view. Now he has a chance to push on again and there is no doubt he has more world championships in him.” Martin Brundle.

Trivia
Alonso is claustrophobic and is terrified of being stuck in a lift.

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