Fernando Alonso Díaz (born 29 July 1981 in Oviedo, Asturias, Spain) is a racing driver currently driving in Formula One for McLaren-Honda. A Double World Champion, winning the title in 2005 and 2006, he is considered to be one of the finest drivers to have graced the sport.
After beginning his Formula One career with Minardi in 2001, Alonso moved to Renault in 2002, initially as a test driver before being promoted to full-time race driver in 2003. Within half a season, was the sport's youngest polesitter; and the youngest driver to set the fastest lap; and at the Hungarian Grand Prix, he became the youngest winner. In 2005, he became the youngest World Champion, at the age of 24 years and 58 days, after fending off Kimi Räikkönen, in 2006, the youngest double World Champion after a good battle with Michael Schumacher. He moved to McLaren in 2007, but after a difficult season Alonso moved back to Renault for two more years without much success, one of his wins was part of the Crashgate scandal. For 2010, he moved to Ferrari, where after an initial struggle Alonso nearly won the World Championship. While 2011 disappointed, 2012 was Alonso's strongest season, however, he was beaten to the title by Sebastian Vettel.
While he may not hold the youngest driver records anymore, Alonso has the fourth-most wins of any Formula One driver with 32 wins. He is known for his ability to salvage a strong result regardless of grid position, so despite taking only 22 poles, he has been on the podium 97 and has scored 1899 points, the highest total in history.
He drives car number 14.
Formula One History
- Main article: 2001 Fernando Alonso Season
After winning the Euro Series by Nissan at his first attempt in 1999 and coming fourth in International Formula 3000 in 2000, Alonso was signed up by Minardi in 2001. When he started in Australia, Alonso became the third youngest driver to ever start a Grand Prix, after Mike Thackwell and Ricardo Rodriguez. The car, the PS01, was unimpressive and Alonso was unable to make a challenge on the points (which were the first six places). However, Alonso did pull off some strong performances, and while his best finish was tenth and last at the German Grand Prix, his best performance was at the Japanese Grand Prix, where the Spaniard held off Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Olivier Panis to finish eleventh out of the sixteen finishers.
Alonso became the test driver for Renault F1 (who had taken over the Benetton team) in 2002, instead of a seat at Sauber (which was taken by Felipe Massa) or a full-time race seat at Renault, which did not materialise. Alonso covered 1,642 laps of testing in 2002.
- Main article: 2003 Fernando Alonso Season
Alonso was signed up to the full race seat at Renault for 2003, replacing Jenson Button in a decision which was critised in the British media after Button's strong performances that season. The decision was proven to be a good one, as within two races, Alonso became the youngest polesitter in Formula One history at the Malaysian Grand Prix. He only finished third, however, behind Kimi Räikkönen and Rubens Barrichello.
The next race, in Brazil was another podium, however, Alonso had the accident that brought out the red flag and stopped the race early. He missed the double waved yellow flags and the safety car board and crashed into the debris from Mark Webber's earlier accident.
At his home Grand Prix, Alonso qualified strongly, in third, and managed to finish in second place. This put him in third place in the championship at the time.
A string of strong performances followed. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Alonso became a winner for the first time, dominating the field and leading all but one lap from pole. He managed to lap the defending World Champion, Michael Schumacher, in the process. The win made him the youngest ever race winner at just 22 years old.
Unfortuanately, in the three races that remained, Alonso only scored a solitary point (at Monza). Alonso classified sixth in the championship, with 55 points. His more experienced team mate, Jarno Trulli, came in eighth place, with 22 less points, Alonso clearly the stronger of the pair.
- Main article: 2004 Fernando Alonso Season
Staying with Renault for the 2004 season, Alonso performed well, scoring four podiums and four fourth places, but not taking any wins. He started with a podium, taking third place in Australia, behind the massively dominant Ferrari. He scored points in five of the next seven races, retiring in Monaco. Alonso had a high speed accident at the United States Grand Prix, after a tyre deflated.
Alonso took pole at the French Grand Prix, where came second after Michael Schumacher's impressive strategy of four pit stops. After a poor British GP, Alonso scored two more podiums in Germany and Hungary. He finished strongly in the last three to races to finish Formula One's then-longest season in fourth place in the championship, with 59 points.
Alonso, with the power of the Renault R25 and Michelin tyres was able to win races in Malaysia, Bahrain, San Marino, Europe, France, Germany and China, winning the world championship with third in Interlagos with two races to spare over Kimi Raikkonen in the McLaren and Michael Schumacher's Ferrari in what was F1's longest season until 2012.
Return to Renault
- Main article: 2012 Fernando Alonso Season
Alonso's third year with Ferrari did not start as planned. The F2012 was a very poor car at first, and this was evident at the first race in Australia. Alonso qualified twelfth after beaching the car in the gravel in Q2. But after a strong start and a bit of luck, Alonso had reached sixth at the end of lap two. He drove a strong race, withstanding Pastor Maldonado's late race pressure in the final stint to finish in fifth place.
The Malaysian Grand Prix was a surprise for everyone. Despite only qualifying ninth, Alonso made up four places at the start and mastered the wet conditions to take the lead on lap 16, a lead he held until he pitted with about fifteen laps to go after being overtaken by Sergio Pérez. Alonso gained an advantage by pitting ahead of Pérez and took the lead back. Alonso went on to win, helped by Pérez making an error and losing about five seconds. The unexpected win propelled Alonso into an unlikely championship lead after two races.
In China and Bahrain, Alonso finished ninth and seventh after two difficult races. His home race was much stronger, initially qualifying third, which became second after Lewis Hamilton was excluded from qualifying. Yet another good start meant Alonso went into the first corner ahead of polesitter Pastor Maldonado. After holding the lead after the first pit stop, Alonso was held up by Charles Pic and Maldonado, who also performed an undercut, took a five second lead. The third and final pitstop was a fast one by the Ferrari crew, and after a fastest lap on the out lap, Alonso was within seconds of Maldonado, but the Spaniard's tyres could not hold out and he fell back, holding off Kimi Räikkönen for an impressive second place.
Alonso's form did not stop there, driving a strong race at the Monaco Grand Prix, overcoming Hamilton to take third place and to take the championship lead from Sebastian Vettel. The Canadian Grand Prix was not a massive success for Alonso. He lead a large portion of the race until his tyres degraded massively and he was overtaken by Hamilton, before losing out to Romain Grosjean, Pérez and Vettel for a lucky fifth and losing his championship lead.
The next race in Europe was an unexpected success. Alonso qualified 11th in one of the closest qualifying sessions of all time, but fought hard to be gifted the lead after Vettel's alternator failure. Alonso had made many overtakes and did not lose his lead, beating Räikkönen by over six seconds. With Hamilton also not scoring, Alonso had a lead of 20 points, ahead of Mark Webber.
Alonso took his and Ferrari's first pole position since the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix in the wet qualifying at the British Grand Prix. Alonso lead for most of the race before ceding to Webber with five laps left. In Germany, Alonso set pole again, and took advantage of Vettel's misfortune and held off Jenson Button and a lapped Hamilton to take victory, his third of the season.
At Hungary, Alonso qualified sixth but had a good start to head Räikkönen into the first corner in fifth place. Alonso finished fifth, ahead of Button after Räikkönen got past after the first stint and McLaren got Button's strategy wrong. At the Belgian Grand Prix, Alonso qualified sixth (which became fifth after Maldonado's penalty). After making a good start, he was hit by Grosjean and Hamilton at the first corner, with Grosjean's car a metre or so away from Alonso's head. Alonso was forced to retire. Had Alonso finished in the points, he would have equalled Michael Schumacher's record of 24 consectutive points finishes, but he was left stranded on 23.
The next race was the Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari's home race. Alonso had a difficult Friday, both his practice sessions being cut short due to mechanical failure. Then, after dominating the first two sessions of qualifying, a roll-bar issue meant that Alonso qualified in tenth place. He made a good start and slowly made his way up the field, even overtaking teammate Felipe Massa to eventually finish in third place, increasing his championship lead.
In Singapore, Alonso once again finished third to secure his fourth podium there out of five races (the other being a fourth place in 2011), benefitting from retirements of both Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado. In Japan, Alonso's luck ran out and he was caught by Räikkönen before the first corner after the Finn had put a tyre on the grass. The slight touch gave Alonso a left-rear puncture, and he spun off, onto the gravel, and into retirement. Alonso's once-strong lead in the championship was reduced to just four points ahead of Vettel.
The Korean Grand Prix saw Alonso finish in third place, one place ahead of teammate Massa, and behind Webber and race-winner (for the third consecutive race) Sebastian Vettel. The result saw Vettel overtake Alonso in the Drivers' World Championship for the first time since June. Alonso's deficit was just six points.
In India, Alonso managed to finish second, but Vettel won his fourth race in a row, and thus Vettel's championship lead increased to 13 points. At the next race, in Abu Dhabi, Alonso's title challenge was given a major boost as Vettel was excluded from qualifying, and started the race from the pit lane. Alonso came second again, but after a lot of luck and skill, Vettel recovered remarkably to finish third, and the gap was reduced to just ten points.
In the penultimate race, the United States Grand Prix, Alonso qualified in ninth. This was promoted to eighth after Romain Grosjean's gearbox penalty. This left Alonso on the dirty side of the grid. Ferrari decided to break the seal on teammate Massa's gearbox. Since Massa had qualified two places ahead of Alonso, Alonso moved up to seventh and onto the clean side of the grid. Alonso benefitted greatly from the sacrifice, and was fourth at the end of lap one, and after Webber's retirement, Alonso once again finished on the podium, with Massa close behind. Vettel, however, was second and thus the gap between the pair was increased back to thirteen points.
The final race, the Brazilian Grand Prix, initially went in Vettel's favour, as the German qualified ahead. The start went in Alonso's favour, however, and Alonso managed to get ahead, before Vettel was caught up in an accident. Alonso made his way up to third before going off track at turn 1, and letting Nico Hülkenberg by. He retained his fourth place as teammate Massa held up the chasing pack. Vettel was making his way back up the field, despite the damage to his car. As a result, Alonso's chances of Championship victory were looking slim, until Hülkenberg and Hamilton collided, which elevated Massa to second with Alonso a few seconds behind. Massa duly let his teammate past. Unfortuanately, Vettel was able to finish in sixth place to take the title, Alonso just three points behind.
- Main article: 2013 Fernando Alonso Season
Armed with a better Ferrari than the year before, Alonso started the 2013 season stronger than in 2012. For the first race, the Australian Grand Prix, Alonso was outqualified by teammate Felipe Massa, but after pitting ahead of his teammate, got past him halfway through the race. He also managed to pass polesitter Sebastian Vettel with this pitstop, and looked set for victory; but Kimi Räikkönen, who had pitted one less time than Alonso, won the race by a clear margin and Alonso had to settle for second.
The Malaysian Grand Prix was a different matter. Having qualified third (but outqualified by Massa again), Alonso managed to bring himself in second place by the end of the second turn, but ran into the back of Vettel and damaged his front wing. Alonso bravely soldiered on, defending strongly against Mark Webber, but decided not to pit. At the end of the main straight, the wing fell off and went under the car, and Alonso was beached in the gravel trap and his race was over after just a lap.
Alonso breezed to victory at the Chinese Grand Prix. Having outqualified Massa, Alonso made a strong start to pressure polesitter Lewis Hamilton, overtaking him on lap 5 before pitting early. Räikkönen, in second, was 10 seconds down. As for Bahrain, Alonso made a good start from third but could not hold off Vettel. Nico Rosberg, who started on pole, was soon passed by both drivers, and Alonso was a few seconds behind leader Vettel. On lap 8, Alonso's DRS flap on the rear wing lodged open, and he was forced to pit to get it closed. After it failed again, Alonso pitted again, and drove strongly to the finish, managing to pick up four points for eighth place.
At his home Grand Prix, the Spanish Grand Prix, Alonso qualified down in fifth but on race day, the Ferrari was the quickest car on track. Despite taking four stops, Alonso breezed to victory, ten seconds clear of the three-stopping Räikkönen. Two weeks later, in Monaco, Alonso's luck was not there, and he struggled to a seventh-place finish. He performed much better at the next race, in Canada, qualifying in sixth place before fighting strongly to finish in second place behind Vettel.
After a three-week break, Alonso headed to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. He qualified poorly, his best Q3 time giving him 10th and last of the session. He started ninth after Paul di Resta's exclusion from qualifying. After an unimpressive start, Alonso fought for position, overtaking Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean early on. After the first round of pitstops, Alonso was in fourth behind Adrian Sutil, despite obtaining a puncture on his right-rear tyre as he entered the pits. After pitting for the second safety car, Alonso was able to fight on new tyres and eventually finished third.
The German Grand Prix was the next week. Alonso qualified in eighth place, but fought strongly after a poor first stint to finish in fourth place, less than ten seconds down on winner Vettel. Three weeks later, in Hungary, Alonso had another issue with his DRS. Ferrari had failed to change the DRS settings to those for the race, and Alonso used DRS three times when not within one second of the car ahead. This forced Ferrari to inform Alonso of when he could use DRS, which lost Alonso time. Ferrari were fined €15,000 for the incident.
After the mid-season break, Formula One returned to Belgium. Alonso qualified a disappointing ninth, but started magnificently to be in fifth place at the end of the first lap. He soon passed both Button and Rosberg to put himself in a podium position within six laps. At the first pitstop, he overtook Hamilton, to put himself in second. Unable to challenge the Red Bull of Vettel, Alonso finished an impressive second. At the Italian Grand Prix, Alonso finished second again, this time from fifth on the grid, having overtaken Nico Hülkenberg at the start and Webber a few laps later to put himself behind teammate Massa, who duly let his teammate through. Once again though, Alonso was unable to catch Vettel and had to settle for second.
At the Singapore Grand Prix, Alonso appeared to struggle, qualifying seventh, but once again, made a lightning start to get himself into third place. Alonso then raced very patiently, attempting to save himself a pitstop, which, with the aid of the Safety Car, he managed to do, finishing second to Vettel for the third race in a row.
It was Alonso's second season where he had a non-points finish in India since the 2010 British Grand Prix.
Formula One Statistical Overview
F1 Career Record
|2001||European Minardi F1 Team||Minardi-European||0||23rd||Report|
|2002||Jaguar Racing||Jaguar-Cosworth||Test Driver|
|Mild Seven Renault F1 Team||Renault|
|2003||Mild Seven Renault F1 Team||Renault||55||6th||Report|
|2004||Mild Seven Renault F1 Team||Renault||59||4th||Report|
|2005||Mild Seven Renault F1 Team||Renault||133||1st||Report|
|2006||Mild Seven Renault F1 Team||Renault||134||1st||Report|
|2007||Vodafone McLaren Mercedes||McLaren-Mercedes||109||3rd||Report|
|2008||ING Renault F1 Team||Renault||61||5th||Report|
|2009|| ING Renault F1 Team|
Renault F1 Team
|2010||Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro||Ferrari||252||2nd||Report|
Correct as of the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix
|Front Row Starts||37|
|Distance Raced||59620.57 km (37046 mi)|
|Distance Led||8499.921 km (5282 mi)|
Correct as of the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix
|Complete Formula One results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)||DNS||Did not start|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||[+] More Symbols|
- Fernando Alonso's Official website (English)
- Fernando Alonso on Wikipedia
- Fernando Alonso on Manipe F1
- ↑ Race stopped after 31/56 Laps. Half points awarded
|Formula One World Drivers' Champion|
|Youngest Formula One World Champion|
25 years, 273 days
24 years, 58 days
23 years, 300 days
|V T E||Fernando Alonso|
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