|Born||29 July 1981|
Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Years Active||2001, 2003-2015|
|Team(s)||Minardi, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari|
|First Grand Prix||2001 Australian Grand Prix|
|Entries||254 (253 starts)|
|Drivers' Championships||2 (2005, 2006)|
|Final Grand Prix||2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix|
Fernando Alonso Díaz (born 29 July 1981) is a Spanish Formula One racing driver and a two-time Formula One World Champion. Alonso also had become the youngest driver to win a pole position and Grand Prix respectively in the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix and the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix, and in 2005 he won the Formula One World Driver's Championship title at the age of 24 years and 58 days, at the time making him the youngest Formula One World Drivers' Champion. After retaining the title the following year, Alonso also became the youngest double Champion at the time. As of January 2016, Alonso is the only Spanish driver to have won a Formula One Grand Prix and is the driver with the sixth highest number of Grand Prix wins, with 32.
As a child, Alonso participated in karting competitions around Spain, supported by his father, who also doubled as his mechanic. His family lacked the financial resources needed to develop a career in motorsport, but his victories attracted sponsorship and the required funds. Alonso won four Spanish championships back-to-back in the junior category, between 1993 and 1996 and the Junior World Cup in 1996. Former Minardi F1 driver Adrián Campos gave Alonso his first test in a race car in October 1998. After three days of testing at the Albacete circuit, Alonso had matched the lap times of Campos' previous driver Marc Gené. Campos signed Alonso to race for him in the 1999 Spanish Euro Open MoviStar by Nissan series. In his second race, again at Albacete, Alonso won for the first time. He took the championship by one point.
Alonso also tested for the Minardi Formula One team, lapping 1.5 seconds faster than the other drivers at the test. The following season Alonso moved up to Formula 3000, which was often the final step for drivers before ascending to Formula One. Alonso joined Team Astromega and was the youngest driver in the series that year by eleven months. Alonso did not score a point until the seventh race of the year, but in the final two rounds he took a second place and a victory, enough for him to end the season fourth overall behind Bruno Junqueira, Nicolas Minassian and Mark Webber.
Alonso was the third-youngest driver ever to start a Formula One race when he made his debut with Minardi at the Australian Grand Prix. The team was in its first season under the control of new owner Paul Stoddart and their new car, the PS01, was neither fast nor reliable. However Alonso's qualifying performance was good, outqualifying team-mate Tarso Marques by 2.6 seconds on début. At the fourth round at Imola he outqualified both Benettons, a feat he repeated later in the season.
Notable performances over the season earned him some attention from the faster teams. It was reported in September 2001 by some of the European press that Sauber were looking to replace outgoing Kimi Räikkönen with Alonso although he was facing competition for the seat from Felipe Massa and then Jaguar test driver André Lotterer. A month later it was confirmed that Massa was going to take the vacant Sauber seat for 2002.
In September, his manager Flavio Briatore had begun planning to place Alonso at Benetton. Briatore considered promoting Alonso for 2002, in place of his race driver Jenson Button, but instead chose to take Alonso on as Renault test driver for 2002. At the final round of the season at Suzuka he finished eleventh—five places outside the points but ahead of Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Prost, the BAR of Olivier Panis, the two Arrows and his team-mate Alex Yoong. Four years later, his team boss from the Minardi days, Paul Stoddart, described his race as "53 laps of qualifying". He scored no points in the season; his best finish being tenth at the German Grand Prix.
2002 - 2003Edit
Alonso became test driver for Renault in 2002 and did 1,642 laps of testing that year. In 2003 Briatore dropped Button and put Alonso in the second seat alongside Jarno Trulli. Briatore was criticised by the British media for the decision, but technical director Mike Gascoyne later insisted to F1 Racing that the decision was correct, since the team had been impressed with Alonso's work rate and talent during his season as test driver.
The Spaniard became the youngest driver to achieve a Formula One pole position at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Alonso had a 180 mph crash at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the result of missing the double yellow flags and Safety Car boards brought out by Mark Webber's earlier crash and colliding with the debris. The race was red-flagged. He finished second at his home grand prix two races later, and at the time became the youngest driver to win a Formula One race at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He finished the year sixth in the championship, with 55 points and four podiums.
Alonso remained with Renault for the 2004 season, scoring podiums in Australia, France, Germany and Hungary. At Indianapolis he suffered a high-speed accident while running in third place after a tyre deflated. In France he took pole position and finished second, running Michael Schumacher close for victory. Towards the end of the year teammate Jarno Trulli's performances deteriorated and he dropped Renault boss Flavio Briatore as his manager. Trulli's relationship with the team deteriorated to the extent that he signed for Toyota from 2005 onwards, and he was replaced for the final three races of the season by former world champion Jacques Villeneuve. Alonso ended the year fourth in the championship standings with 59 points.
For the 2005 season, Alonso was joined at Renault by Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella. At the first race in Australia Alonso started near the back due to rain in qualifying but fought his way to third. He won the next two races in Malaysia and Bahrain from pole position, and took a third win in the San Marino Grand Prix after a 13-lap battle with Michael Schumacher.
McLaren's improving form saw Räikkönen win in Spain and Monaco while Alonso finished second and fourth, respectively. Räikkönen was on course to win the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring when his car's front-right suspension failed (due to a flat spot on the tyre caused by Räikkönen locking his wheels under braking while passing Jacques Villeneuve) on the last lap, giving victory to Alonso.
Alonso failed to score in the Canadian and United States Grands Prix. He crashed out of the former, and in the latter all the Michelin runners withdrew due to safety concerns over their tyres. Alonso took his third pole position and fifth win at the French Grand Prix. He followed this with pole position a week later at the British Grand Prix, where he finished second behind Montoya. McLaren's Kimi Räikkönen led the German Grand Prix until his car's hydraulics failed. Alonso went on to win the race.
Alonso qualified sixth in the Hungarian Grand Prix but finished 11th after a collision with the Toyota of Ralf Schumacher. As the season entered its final stages Alonso finished second in three consecutive races, collecting vital championship points. Räikkönen won in Turkey and Belgium, but was fourth at Monza after engine trouble in qualifying, meaning Alonso's lead had been reduced by only one point.
Alonso sealed the title by finishing third in Brazil while Montoya won from Räikkönen. The Spaniard became the youngest Drivers' Champion at the age of 24 years and 59 days old, breaking Emerson Fittipaldi's record. He also ended the five-year dominance of Michael Schumacher.
Commenting on his victory, he said: "I just want to dedicate this championship to my family, and all my close friends who have supported me through my career. Spain is not a country with an F1 culture, and we had to fight alone, every step of the way, to make this happen. A huge thank-you should also go to the team as well — they are the best in Formula One, and we have done this together. It will say that I am world champion, but we are all champions — and they deserve this." In the May 2007 issue of F1 Racing, Alonso said that the 2005 Brazilian Grand Prix was his greatest race. He said, "It was a dream come true and a very emotional day. In the last few laps I leaped, thinking I could hear noises from the engine- from everywhere! But all was okay and I can remember my relief when I crossed the finish line."
The Japanese and Chinese Grands Prix saw Alonso and Renault abandon the conservative style evident in Brazil when he was still chasing the drivers' title. Starting from 16th on the grid, he eventually finished third behind Räikkönen and Fisichella. The Chinese Grand Prix saw Renault and Alonso win to claim the first Constructors' Championship for the Renault F1 team.
Main Article: Fernando Alonso/2006 Season
Alonso began 2006 with a string of wins and podiums that by mid-season gave him a substantial lead over Schumacher, whose faltering Ferrari was subsequently improved to overcome Renault's initial performance advantage. Thus empowered, the German staged a brilliant comeback that made the Spaniard's eventual title triumph all the more memorable. The fact that they were so evenly matched, with seven wins each, substantiated Alonso's status as a worthy successor to the retiring Schumacher.
Main Article: Fernando Alonso/2007 Season
In 2007 Alonso made a move to the Mclaren team. He won a total of 4 races for the team and eventually finished third in the championship, tied with team mate Hamilton. During the season he fell out with the team over several incidents and left at the end of the season.
Main Article: Fernando Alonso/2008 Season
In 2008 Alonso returned to the Renault team after his 1 year spell with Mclaren. He won two races for the team, one of which was the Singapore GP, where his team-mate delibratly crashed so Alonso could win. He finished the season in 5th place.
The new Renault R29 car did not meet up to Alonso's expectations at the start of the year, after it performed poorly in winter testing, despite the fact that there were no major reliability issues. For the second consecutive year, Nelson Piquet, Jr. would be his team-mate.
Main Article: Fernando Alonso/2010 Season
In 2010 after another 2 years with Renault Alonso moved to the Ferrari Team. Alonso won his first race for the Scuderia, becoming the fifth man to win on his debut for the team. He ended the season in second place with 252 points and 5 wins.
Alonso started the season with a fourth place in Australia, finishing half a minute behind race-winner Sebastian Vettel. He took his first podium of the season with third at the Turkish Grand Prix, having run second for a time and was only passed by Mark Webber on lap 51 of 58. Prior to his home race in Spain, he extended his contract with Ferrari for a further five years, until the end of 2016. Alonso was forced to retire in Canada after contact with Button left his car beached on a kerb. He bounced back to finish second in Valencia.
At the British Grand Prix, controversial blown diffuser systems were temporarily banned, which was perceived to give Ferrari an advantage over its rivals. Alonso was running second to Vettel in the race, until a mistake from the Red Bull mechanics in a pit stop gave Alonso the lead, which he maintained until the end of the race to take his first victory of the season. Alonso finished second in Germany after a race-long battle with eventual winner Lewis Hamilton, and Webber. He took his fourth successive podium by finishing third in Hungary. Alonso finished second to Button in Japan, and added a third place in India and second in Abu Dhabi. Alonso closed the season with fourth in Brazil to finish fourth in the Drivers' Championship, losing third place to Webber by one point, after Webber won the race.
Ferrari appeared to be struggling for pace in pre-season testing; in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, Alonso lost the rear of his car at turn one during the second part of qualifying and became beached in the gravel, and ultimately lined up twelfth on the grid. He drove a strong race to finish 5th. At the next race in Malaysia, the Ferrari's lack of pace was again demonstrated with Alonso qualifying ninth. However, in the race, which started in wet conditions, Alonso drove strongly, taking the lead on lap 16. Sauber's Sergio Pérez began to quickly catch Alonso and looked to be close to passing Alonso, until he ran wide, giving Alonso an unexpected first win of the season.
Alonso finished third in the Monaco Grand Prix putting him into the lead of the Drivers' Championship this season ahead of Sebastian Vettel and his team-mate, Mark Webber, who won at Monaco. However, a fifth place in the Canadian Grand Prix behind Lewis Hamilton's first and Sebastian Vettel's fourth put him behind Hamilton in the championship table. He took the lead again in dramatic fashion in the European Grand Prix where he started 11th on the grid and was able to climb his way up to win the race after his 2 main competitors Vettel and Hamilton retired. Alonso took Ferrari's first pole since the Singapore Grand Prix of 2010 at the next round at Silverstone, he was eventually unable to convert the pole and crossed the line three seconds adrift of Webber after 52 laps as his Ferrari's tyres began to drop off in performance.
He started from pole position at the German Grand Prix, where he won the race to extend his championship lead. At the Belgian Grand Prix, he was involved in a first-corner incident with four other drivers, and retired on the spot. At the Japanese Grand Prix Alonso was hit from behind at the first corner and retired. Following a dramatic end to the season, with frequent podium finishes Alonso again lost the championship to Sebastian Vettel on the final day, finishing 3 points behind in the standings. Alonso would have won the title had he won the final race at Interlagos, but was beaten to it by Jenson Button; while Vettel finished in sixth.
2014 saw the introduction of a new Formula specifying a 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 engine that incorporated an energy recovery system into its build. Drivers also picked a unique car number they would use for the rest of their career, Alonso picked number 14 as he used the number in his karting career and considers it to be a lucky number. Alonso and Ferrari had a difficult season, they were far behind Mercedes whose turbo-hybrid package was by far the best. They were however close to winning the Hungarian Grand Prix, before being overtaken by Daniel Ricciardo only a couple of laps before the finish.
Alonso finished sixth in the championship, with only one other podium, a third-place finish in China. In spite of his worst championship position during his time with Ferrari, he was far ahead of team-mate Kimi Räikkönen in the championship. In November 2014 both Alonso and Scuderia Ferrari announced that the 2014 season would be his last with the team. In December 2014 it was announced that Alonso would return to McLaren for the first time since 2007 on what was reported to be a two-year deal with an option for extension.
For 2015 McLaren joined up with Honda as their engine supplier, whom they were dominante with during the late 1980's, however they would not be successful this time. On the second day of the Barcelona pre-season test Alonso had an accident at turn 3. He was airlifted to the General Hospital de Catalunya in Sant Cugat del Vallès, where he underwent scans which found that he had suffered a concussion. Alonso was released from hospital on 4 March and was advised to miss the Australian Grand Prix in order to minimise the chance of suffering second-impact syndrome. Magnussen was announced to take his place. Alonso was passed fit for the Malaysian Grand Prix, allowing him to properly start his second stint at McLaren. In the race, Alonso failed to finish after overheating issues with his car's hybrid system, while his Ferrari replacement Sebastian Vettel won the race. Alonso said he had no regrets about leaving Ferrari for McLaren, saying that he was no longer content with just podium finishes after 14 years in Formula One and therefore was prepared to take risks in order to win.
At the British Grand Prix, Alonso managed to score his first point of the season. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, he finished fifth, his best result since rejoining McLaren. It was also the first time both drivers finished in the points as Jenson Button finished in ninth. However he failed to score any further points in the remainder of the season. Overall 2015 proved to be a frustrating season for Alonso. The new Honda turbo-hybrid engine was well below par in terms of performace and Alonso suffered numerous reliablity issues throughout the year, eventually ending the season in seventeenth place with eleven points.
Alonso's helmet design has the flag of Spain surrounding the helmet and shades of blue which are adapted from Asturias flags. This design is an original helmet design from when Alonso joined Minardi in the 2001 season, with the difference that he wore a blue color with dark blue shades, and then gradually changed to light blue and finally blue typical Asturias in 2004.
Starting in the 2006 season, Alonso changed the design on his helmet. He added a background color of yellow as the main color of the helmet together with the bright blue color. The design was then turned upside down again when he moved to McLaren in 2007. This time, Alonso's helmet was black and red colors, along with customized color schemes for the McLaren team. He also added a silver part in the back of the helmet.
For 2008, Alonso switched back to one of his previous helmet designs; the yellow-blue coupled with a slight outward surrounding white helmet. Besides the rear helmet, Alonso also attached two pictures of a spade, ace and heart symbol signifying his status as a double world champion. Alonso's return to the style of an old-fashioned helmet was because he re-joined Renault at that time. The design he used in the 2009 season was replacing the blue to a bright red at the top and the bottom of the helmet.
For 2010, Alonso returned to the traditional color scheme which is a combination of blue shades of the Asturias and Spanish flag. He also put a Ferrari logo on the back of the helmet, just above the drawing of two aces. Alonso's used the same helmet design scheme in the 2011 season. Alonso also introduced a special helmet during the 2011 season with a gold background helmet that was used in the Monaco Grand Prix and the Singapore Grand Prix. The golden helmet he designed was to raise money for a charity auction for UNICEF.
Complete Formula One resultsEdit
(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)
† Did not finish, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.