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Fernando Alonso

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fernando Alonso
Alonso 2016.jpg
Alonso in 2016
BornFernando Alonso Díaz
(1981-07-29) 29 July 1981 (age 38)
Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
Formula One World Championship career
NationalitySpain Spanish
Active years2001, 20032018
TeamsMinardi, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari
Car number14
Entries314 (311 starts)
Championships2 (2005, 2006)
Wins32
Podiums97
Career points1,899
Pole positions22
Fastest laps23
First entry2001 Australian Grand Prix
First win2003 Hungarian Grand Prix
Last win2013 Spanish Grand Prix
Last entry2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
2018 position11th (50 pts)
FIA World Endurance Championship career
Debut season2018–19
Current teamToyota Gazoo Racing
Car number8
Starts8
Championships1 (2018–19)
Wins5
Poles4
Fastest laps0
IndyCar Series career
1 race run over 1 year
2017 position29th
Best finish29th (2017)
First race2017 Indianapolis 500 (Indianapolis)
Last race2017 Indianapolis 500 (Indianapolis)
Wins Podiums Poles
0 0 0
WebsiteOfficial website

Fernando Alonso Díaz (Spanish pronunciation: [feɾˈnando aˈlonso ˈði.aθ] (About this soundlisten); born 29 July 1981) is a Spanish racing driver who won the Formula One World Championship in 2005 and 2006 for the Renault team. He is often regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in the history of the sport.[1] Away from Formula One, he is a champion of the 2018–19 FIA World Endurance Championship and a two-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 and 2019 with Toyota. Alonso also won the 2019 24 Hours of Daytona for Wayne Taylor Racing.

Born in Oviedo, Asturias to a working-class family, he began go-karting at the age of three and achieved success in local, national and world championships. Alonso later progressed to car racing, winning the Euro Open by Nissan in 1999 and was fourth in the International Formula 3000 Championship of 2000. He debuted in Formula One with Minardi in 2001 before joining Renault as a test driver for 2002. Promoted to a race seat in 2003, Alonso won two drivers' championships in 2005 and 2006 from Kimi Räikkönen and Michael Schumacher, respectively. After a third-place finish with McLaren in 2007, he returned to Renault from 2008 to 2009 and won two races in the former year to place fifth overall. Alonso then drove for Ferrari from 2010 to 2014. He finished runner-up to Sebastian Vettel three times in tightly-contested title duels in 2010 and 2012 and again in 2013. A second stint with McLaren from 2015 to 2018 did not result in further success due to an uncompetitive car.

Overall Alonso won 32 Formula One races, 22 pole positions and 1,899 points from 311 starts. He was the first Spanish Formula One driver to win the World Championship and was the youngest one-time and two-time drivers' champion at the time of his successes. Alonso also held the records of the youngest pole position sitter and race winner. He won the 2001 Race of Champions Nations Cup with the rally driver Jesús Puras and the motorcyclist Rubén Xaus for Team Spain and twice entered the Indianapolis 500 in 2017 and 2019. Alonso's achievements have won him the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, the Premios Nacionales del Deporte Sportsman of the Year Award and the Gold Medal of the Royal Order of Sports Merit and has twice been inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame. He runs an eSports and junior racing team and is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Early and personal life

Alonso was born on 29 July 1981 into a working-class family in Oviedo, Asturias, Northern Spain.[2][3] He is the son of the mine shaft explosives factory mechanic and amateur kart driver José Luis Alonso,[3][4] and his wife,[4] the department store employee Ana Díaz.[2][5] Alonso has an elder sister, Lorena, who is a doctor.[5]

He was educated at the Holy Guardian Angel Primary School (Spanish: Santo Ángel de la Guarda) in Oviedo from 1985 to 1995 under the Basic Education System (Spanish: Educación General Básica).[6] Alonso later attended the Institute Leopoldo Alas Clarín of San Lazaro (Spanish: Instituto Leopoldo Alas Clarín de San Lázaro) until his motor racing commitments caused him to leave during his Curso de Orientación Universitaria (English: University Orientation Course) in 2000.[6] He was granted a permit to study away from school,[7] after he disobeyed his mother's orders and seldom attended classes.[8] He attained a good overall academic performance by asking his classmates for notes and was unproblematic.[6][9]

From November 2006 to December 2011, Alonso was married to Raquel del Rosario, the lead singer of the Spanish pop band, El Sueño de Morfeo.[10] Since then he has been in relationships with four different women.[11] Alonso supports the Real Madrid and Real Oviedo football teams,[7] and speaks English, French, Italian and Spanish.[12] He has a samurai tattoo on his back to show muscle strength, intelligence and force of will inspired by the 18th century spiritual guide Hagakure.[13]

Karting career

The first go-kart driven by Alonso after his elder sister did not want to drive it
The first go-kart driven by Alonso after his elder sister did not want to drive it

Alonso's father wanted a hobby to share with his children and built a go-kart for Lorena. She was uninterested in karting and a three-year-old Alonso received the kart.[2][4][14] The karts' pedals were modified for drive-ability,[3][7] and the local racing federation granted him a mandatory kart racing license aged five;[5] his father rejected an offer for his son to be a goalkeeper for the RC Celta de Vigo football club.[7][15] The family lacked the finances required to develop him in karts;[2] they could not purchase rain tyres and forced Alonso to adapt to a wet track on slick tyres.[16] Alonso devised three timing sectors en route to school to improve himself daily.[17] His mother sewn his racing overalls and adjusted them as he grew;[18] she ensured Alonso was academically well off.[2] His father steered the kart early on and was his accountant, counselor, manager and mechanic.[18][19]

Aged seven, Alonso won his first kart race in Pola de Laviana.[5][20] He took the children's junior Championship of the Asturias and Galicia in 1988 and 1989. For 1990, Alonso progressed to the Cadet class.[21][22] Due to rising expenses incurred by his father,[21] the go-kart importer Genís Marcó was impressed by Alonso and mentored him; the kart track owner José Luis Echevarria told him about Alonso. Marcó found personal and sponsorship money for Alonso's family to defray financial concerns and allow him to enter European series.[5][8][23] He spoke to the six-time Karting World Champion Mike Wilson, who gave Alonso a test session at a track in Parma.[21] Marcó taught Alonso to be conservative and maintain the condition of a kart.[24]

The go-kart Alonso utilised to win the Karting World Championship in 1996
The go-kart Alonso utilised to win the Karting World Championship in 1996

Alonso won the Asturias and the Basque Country Cadet Championship in 1990 and was runner-up in the 1991 Spanish Cadet National Championship.[5] The local karting federation allowed him to enter the 100cc class because he was deemed underage to drive more powerful machinery. At a Catalan Karting Championship meet in Móra d'Ebre, Marcó asked Alonso if he wanted to compete in the Spanish Karting Championship.[23][25] Wilson mentored Alonso; he joined the Italian American Motor Engineering works team in 1993.[21] Alonso won three Spanish Junior National Championships in a row from 1993 to 1995.[22]

The results allowed him to progress to the world championships.[5] Alonso was third at the 1995 Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK-FIA) Cadets' Rainbow Trophy.[21] Alonso was a mechanic to younger kart drivers to earn money.[7] In 1996, he won his fourth Spanish Junior Karting Championship, the Trofeo Estival, the Marlboro Masters,[22] and the CIK-FIA 5 Continents Juniors Cup at the Karting Genk.[21] The following year, he claimed the Italian and Spanish International A championships and was second in the European Championship with nine wins, the Masters Karting Paris Bercy and the Spanish Karting Championship.[5][22]

Junior car racing career

Alonso progressed to car racing at the age of 17. Retired driver Adrián Campos and Niki Lauda's former chief mechanic Ermanno Cuoghi observed Alonso at the Marlboro Masters kart race in the Palau Sant Jordi.[23][26] Campos contacted Alonso about driving Marc Gené's Campos Motorsport car and tested it at the Circuito de Albacete in October 1998.[20][26] He accepted Campos' offer of a three-year contract and replaced Gené for the 1999 Euro Open by Nissan.[14][23] Alonso won the championship at the season's final round from Manuel Gião with six victories and nine pole positions.[a][5][14]

For the 2000 season, he moved to the higher-tier International Formula 3000 Championship with the Minardi-backed Team Astromega.[2][14] Driver Robert Lechner lacked the sponsorship money to drive for Astromega and Benetton's operations director Joan Villadelprat advised its manager Sam Boyle to enquire Campos about Alonso. Astromega signed Alonso after a two-day test session at the Circuit de Catalunya. He improved his English to better communicate with mechanics and Rob Smedley was his race engineer.[28] His Lola had an understeer that was removed with an set-up alteration to include additional oversteer and increase Alonso's comfort.[23] Astromega allowed Campos to attend the team's technical meetings since Alonso wanted his feedback.[26] He was second at the Hungaroring and won the season-ending Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps race to place fourth outright with 17 points.[14]

Formula One testing and Minardi (1999–2001)

Cesare Fiorio, the sports director, gave Alonso his debut in a Formula One car at a test session at the Circuito de Jerez on 13 December 1999 as part of the Euro Open by Nissan's organising company RPM agreement to provide its champion with an opportunity to test at a higher level. Fiorio contacted the Minardi team principal Gabriele Rumi afterwards to draft a ten-year contract for Alonso to sign.[29] Minardi signed Alonso as its reserve and test driver for Gene and Gastón Mazzacane for the 2000 season.[22][30]

The marketing director Massimo Rivola took Alonso to meet Rumi in August 2000. Alonso was unhappy about this because he felt his time could be better spent elsewhere.[31] He then ventured to Maranello and met the Ferrari team principal Jean Todt after Todt telephoned Campos. Alonso reached an agreement in principle with Todt and was told not to sign with another team. The agreement was terminated when Flavio Briatore became Alonso's manager.[32]

Alonso made his Formula One début with the Minardi team in the 2001 season.
Alonso made his Formula One début with the Minardi team in the 2001 season.

In December 2000, Minardi allowed Alonso to drive for Benetton in a test session at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo and accumulated enough driving time to become eligible for an FIA Super Licence.[33] As part of a loan agreement with Benetton, Alonso drove for Minardi in the 2001 championship.[34] Briatore sent Alonso to Minardi to provide him with experience of Formula One racing. Alonso stated he wanted to drive competitively and not become pre-occupied with results: "I hope people will have patience with me because I will be starting from the back row of the grid."[35]

He began working with the physiotherapists Edoardo Bendinelli and Fabricio Borra, who monitored his physical training and regulated his diet to ensure his weight was constant before a season and a race.[36] Alonso performed better than his more experienced teammate and Minardi lead driver Tarso Marques and later Alex Yoong in a non-competitive car.[37] He attained a season-best finish of tenth at the German Grand Prix and scored no points for 23rd overall.[14][38] Alonso adapted to left foot braking,[39] and he matured driving-wise.[40]

Renault (2002–2006)

2002

Notable performances over the season earned Alonso some attention from the higher-tier racing teams. Some European press publications reported in September 2001 that the Sauber team sought to replace outgoing Kimi Räikkönen with Alonso who had competition for the seat from the Euro Formula 3000 champion Felipe Massa and the Jaguar test driver André Lotterer.[41] He was also linked to employment at the Prost and Arrows teams.[42][43]

In September, Briatore had begun planning to place Alonso at the Benetton team. He had considered promoting Alonso for the 2002 championship, in place of his race driver Jenson Button, who had under-performed compared to his teammate Giancarlo Fisichella.[44] After he declined multiple offers to race in 2002,[45] Alonso joined Renault as a test driver two months later to broaden his skills and prepare to be a race driver per Briatore's instructions.[45][46][47] He worked with the engineering team to improve Fisichella and Button's performances.[48] Alonso covered 1,642 laps in test sessions in Spain and the United Kingdom with Renault,[38] and took part in an evaluation session at the Silverstone Circuit to compare himself against the Jaguar test drivers Lotterer and James Courtney in May 2002.[49]

2003–2004

Alonso driving for Renault at the 2003 British Grand Prix
Alonso driving for Renault at the 2003 British Grand Prix

Alonso was linked to five teams for a race seat in the 2003 season and was strongly favoured to replace Button at Renault.[50] Briatore promoted him to its race team for 2003.[48] Alonso trained in Kenya with the team on a fitness programme in late 2002 to prepare for the season.[51] He said his stint as a test driver had prepared him and felt driving in the pre-race test sessions would better acquaint him with the tracks: "I arrive properly in 2003 and I now feel I'm at 100 percent because one year racing with Minardi and one year of testing has prepared me and now I'm ready to come back."[52] Alonso felt confident driving the R23 which responded adequately to changes to its setup and its Michelin tyres allowed him to opt for additional aggressive race strategies.[53]

At the season's second round, the Malaysian Grand Prix, Alonso took his first career pole position, becoming Formula One's youngest pole sitter at 21 years and 236 days.[b][14][54] He took consecutive third-place finishes in Malaysia and Brazil;[14] Alonso had a 270 km/h (170 mph) accident in Brazil, sustaining a bruised left elbow, knee and thigh.[55] He then finished second at the Spanish Grand Prix and eclipsed Bruce McLaren's record as Formula One's youngest driver to claim a race victory when he won the Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position aged 22 years and 26 days.[c] Alonso finished the year sixth overall with 55 points scored and four podium finishes.[14]

Alonso competing at the 2004 United States Grand Prix

He remained with Renault for the 2004 championship.[56] Alonso regularly travelled to Renault's factory in Enstone, England during the R24's construction and discussed a large amount of information with his engineers during the off-season.[57] He felt confident with the car the first time he drove it: Alonso described his R24 as being quicker than the R23, having a similar steering style and found it was not difficult to become acquainted with.[58] Alonso said his objective for the year was to improve upon his results from the 2003 season: "As a racing driver you always want to improve your results, although it will be difficult after one win and several podiums last year. But we'll work hard on it. We have competitive people so I'm sure we can do it."[59] Alonso had a consistent year with four podium finishes, a pole position at the French Grand Prix and no race victories. He finished in fourth place in the drivers' championship with 59 points.[14]

2005–2006

Alonso battling with Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher for the victory of the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix.
Alonso battling with Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher for the victory of the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix.

For the 2005 season, he stayed with Renault.[2] Alonso visited the team's factory in Enstone for a seat fitting to feel comfortable in the R25 to prepare for the championship.[60] He felt the more powerful and driveable car was more constant over a long period of time and that it had improved braking and stability.[61] The media considered Renault the pre-season favourites to win the championship and predicted a closely fought duel between Alonso and his teammate Giancarlo Fisichella.[62] Alonso said he entered the year in a positive mood and push hard and enjoy racing.[63]

He and Kimi Räikkönen of the McLaren team vied for the championship that year due to regulation changes mandating teams not to change tyres during a race and engines had to last for two races before they could be changed. Alonso drove a more reliable R25 than Räikkönen's car albeit lacking in outright pace.[62] He was occasionally conservative to accumulate points rather than duel for wins.[64] Alonso took seven victories, six pole positions and the reliability of his car and consistent results allowed him to claim his first drivers' title two rounds early at the Brazilian Grand Prix.[2][62] Alonso consequently became the youngest Formula One world champion at the age of 24 years and 58 days and eclipsed Emerson Fittipaldi's record the latter had held since the 1972 season.[b][54] He concluded the season with 133 points accrued from finishing all bar two out of 19 races and had 14 top-three finishes.[2][14]

Alonso won his second world drivers' championship at the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Alonso won his second world drivers' championship at the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Negotiations to extend Alonso's contract to the end of the 2006 season began with Renault in April 2005. Jean Todt was interested in bringing Alonso to Ferrari, something the latter did not want because of the presence of the seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.[65] Alonso signed a two-year contract with Renault that same month.[66] A majority of bookmakers considered him the favourite to retain the drivers' championship.[67] Alonso believed Schumacher and Honda driver Jenson Button would challenge him.[68] He said he was better relaxed. less stressed than the year before and was more motivated and interested because Renault were defending the championship:[69]

That season, Schumacher was Alonso's primary rival in the championship.[2][70] Alonso won six of the season's first nine races and finished in the top two positions to score a possible 84 out of 90 points.[14][38] An Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA; Formula One's governing body)-imposed ban on Renault's tuned mass damper device to lower Alonso's overall performance and an increase of development into Schumacher's Ferrari allowed him to go from being 25 points behind Alonso to level the total number of points the latter had accumulated before the penultimate round, the Japanese Grand Prix.[2][70] Alonso won after Schumacher retired with an engine failure while leading.[70] Alonso required one championship point at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix to claim his second drivers' title.[71] He won the championship with a second-place result. Aged 25 years and 85 days, Alonso became Formula One's youngest two-time world champion.[b][72]

McLaren (2007)

Alonso en route to victory at the 2007 Malaysian Grand Prix
Alonso en route to victory at the 2007 Malaysian Grand Prix

The McLaren team owner Ron Dennis asked Alonso in Brazil in October 2005 whether he would like to drive for his team in the future after Alonso expressed interest in doing so.[d] Alonso and Dennis met secretly in Japan, signing a three-year contract three weeks later.[e][75][76] Alonso's family, lawyers and his manager Luis Garcia Abad negotiated; he was eager to inform Flavio Briatore about the deal in person but could not do so due to a scheduling conflict.[77] The news was made public on 19 December 2005.[66] Alonso told McLaren senior personnel before the 2006 German Grand Prix he was dissatisfied with the relationship between himself and Briatore, with Dennis and Garcia discussing Alonso joining McLaren in a mid-season swap, before concurring an agreement was unfeasible.[78]

Alonso took his final victory of the 2007 season at the Italian Grand Prix
Alonso took his final victory of the 2007 season at the Italian Grand Prix

His contract with Renault was due to expire on 31 December 2006; Alonso was not granted an early release for sponsorship reasons.[79] After McLaren did not approach Briatore about an early release of Alonso to them,[80] he and Renault allowed Alonso to acclimatise with McLaren. Alonso drove a MP4-21 car at a test session at the Circuito de Jerez after pleading with Briatore to reach a compromise after Dennis could not do so.[79][81] McLaren were initially concerned that Alonso's aggressive driving style would not suit their car because they believed Renault had built themselves around him.[82] He had two seat fittings in the MP4-22 car at the McLaren Technology Centre, the team's Woking headquarters, between December 2006 and January 2007.[74][83] McLaren reportedly paid Alonso £60 million.[84] He said his objective was to win the world championship and felt McLaren's switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres would help him.[85]

That year, Alonso challenged his teammate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen for the championship. He took four race victories (Malaysia, Monaco, Europe and Italy) and led the points standings after the Malaysia round before Hamilton took it from him.[86] Before the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, he had 103 points to Räikkonen's 100 and Hamilton's 107. Alonso needed to win the race and for Hamilton to finish third to claim the championship.[87] He finished third in the race and placed third overall with 109 points.[86] He had the same number of points as Hamilton; the tie was broken on count-back, Alonso had one less second-place finish than Hamilton.[14][88]

His relationship with Dennis deteriorated during the year. Alonso believed Dennis had given him priority over his teammate Hamilton, but felt Hamilton received preferential treatment and disagreements with Dennis about race strategy in Monaco. Alonso impeding Hamilton during qualifying in Hungary led to the two not being on speaking terms.[76][89][90] McLaren mechanic Tyler Alexander was worried about the influence of Alonso's advisers and the latter's frustration with the team and was refused discussions.[89] Alonso and his manager told Dennis and COO Martin Whitmarsh he would leak emails relevant to a espionage investigation to the FIA in which an McLaren employee possessed confidential technical information about Ferrari's car. Afterwards Alonso retracted his comments and apologised to Dennis. He and his lawyers met with Dennis not long after to negotiate an early release from his contract.[90] They mutually agreed to end their working relationship early with no compensation paid.[91] Alonso agreed not to join a team whom McLaren considered their main championship challengers for the 2008 season.[92]

Return to Renault (2008–2009)

He had several options for 2008 and was unsure where he would drive.[93] Alonso and his manager negotiated and rejected an offer from Red Bull over the length of his contract and considered signing to Toyota.[94] Flavio Briatore told Alonso he would be happy to invite a return to Renault if he desired it.[95] He signed a two-year contract with an option for a third year with Renault on 10 December 2007. An important factor in his decision was Renault's long-term commitment to Formula One and its on-track record.[96][97] Alonso undertook a fitness regime in Switzerland to prepare for the season.[98]

2008

Alonso took a controversial victory at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix after his teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. was ordered to crash deliberately.
Alonso took a controversial victory at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix after his teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. was ordered to crash deliberately.

He felt more motivated to improve his performance than in 2006 and was happier in a different environment.[99] Alonso vowed not to alter his approach to racing for victories at Renault and would work hard to achieve his goal.[100] An imposed moratorium in development meant the R28 had an engine power disadvantage than the main teams early on and Alonso scored nine points in the first seven races.[38][101] Developments to the car's aerodynamics improved his performance and he won in Singapore and Japan;[38] the former race saw Renault order his teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash deliberately and trigger the deployment of the safety car to allow Alonso claim a victory in what became known as "crashgate". Alonso was cleared of any wrongdoing.[14] Alonso's performance in the season's last five events saw him accumulate more points than any other driver with 43.[101] Overall, he took 61 points and was fifth in the drivers' championship.[14]

2009

Alonso competing for Renault at the 2009 Turkish Grand Prix
Alonso competing for Renault at the 2009 Turkish Grand Prix

Alonso was due to be a free agent for the 2009 season had Renault finished lower than third in the constructors' championship.[102] Honda made signing Alonso to a £7.6 million contract its main priority; he reportedly considered the offer due to the arrival of Ross Brawn as its team principal.[102][103] Late in 2008, Christian Horner, the Red Bull team principal, and the adviser Helmut Marko presented Flavio Bratore with a two-year contract for Alonso covering 2009 and 2010.[104] Alonso declined the offer because he would only commit to Red Bull for one season,[104] and signed a two-year contract with Renault on 5 November.[105] He expressed his and Renault's aim to win the championship and was aware it would be difficult to achieve: "When you win a drivers' title, winning the constructors' one is more special because usually it's harder to score points. So winning both titles is our goal. That was very hard to do last year, but then, when we were strong in the final races our goals changed."[106]

The R29 proved to be more noncompetitive than its predecessor due to the car lacking a dual diffuser system and pace.[38][107] Alonso eschewed an aerodynamic front wing mandated in an attempt to make overtaking more possible since he did not believe it would benefit him.[107] He scored points in eight races and took one podium result: a third-place finish at the season's 14th round, the Singapore Grand Prix.[108] Alonso had earlier taken pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix and led the first twelve laps before he retired due to an incorrectly fitted right-front wheel.[109] Alonso was ninth in the drivers' championship with 26 points,[14] his lowest placing since he came sixth in the 2003 season;[108] he maintained his reputation as one of Formula One's best drivers.[14]

Ferrari (2010–2014)

Alonso met the Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo in August 2007 and the two reached a verbal agreement for him to drive for the team in the 2009 season.[110] Di Montezemolo talked about Alonso's skill to Stefano Domenicali several times and was helped by Michael Schumacher;[111][112] he said to Alonso he should abide by Ferrari's interests and not his own.[111] When Jean Todt learned of this, he extended Felipe Massa and Kimi Räikkönen's contracts to 2010.[110] Alonso had a mid-2009 agreement with Ferrari for a three-year contract to commence from the 2011 season before it was moved to 2010 after Renault was investigated for race fixing at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. Ferrari released Raikkonen to allow Alonso to drive for them.[108][113]

2010–2011

Alonso won on his debut with Ferrari at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Alonso won on his debut with Ferrari at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix.

He twice visited the Ferrari headquarters in Maranello in November 2009 to acquaint himself with the team's engineers and worked with them. Alonso had meetings with Domenicali and Di Montezemolo and observed wind tunnel testing of its 2010 car.[114] He later had a seat fitting in the vehicle to make himself comfortable in regards to his overall height and weight on 19 January 2010.[115] Bookmakers installed Alonso as the favourite to win the drivers' championship and he trained with the cyclist Samuel Sánchez and riders associated with Alberto Contador.[116] His race engineer was Andrea Stella.[117]

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button of McLaren and the Red Bull pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were Alonso's main championship competition.[118] He won the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix and Ferrari favoured him over Massa after his teammate did not allow him past in Australia.[108] Alonso fell 47 points behind after the British Grand Prix due to driver errors in China and Monaco and a slow progression of development into the F10 of which he reportedly grew frustrated with.[119][120] His second race victory came when Ferrari instructed Massa to let him win in Germany.[108] Victories in Italy, Singapore and Korea and finishing in the top three each time thereafter allowed Alonso to enter the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi leading by eight points.[119] He finished second to Vettei with 252 points after a strategy error by Ferrari left him behind and unable to pass Vitaly Petrov's Renault.[14][119]

Alonso during practice for the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix.
Alonso during practice for the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix.

Alonso remained at Ferrari for the 2011 season.[2] He vowed to lose about 2 to 3 kg (4.4 to 6.6 lb) to compensate for the re-introduction of the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) that increased a car's weight and lowered its centre of gravity.[121] The Ferrari 150º Italia was built conservatively and lacked aerodynamic grip and tyre handling for a qualifying session.[122] Alonso extracted additional pace from his car to claim ten podium finishes and win the British Grand Prix. His best qualification of the season was a second at the Canadian Grand Prix and he qualified higher than his teammate Massa fifteen times Alonso was fourth overall with 257 points; strong finishes put him in contention to finish runner-up to eventual champion Vettel before Webber won the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.[14][123]

2012–2013

He stayed with Ferrari for the 2012 championship;[2] Alonso had signed a three-year contract extension in May 2011 to remain at Ferrari to the 2016 season.[124] Ferrari worked to understand the F2012 and adapted his driving style to cope with a loss of rear aerodynamic downforce.[125] Alonso stated he would enter the season with the championship in mind and forgot his performance from 2011: "I really believe in the skills we have here in Ferrari. We have to be optimistic. We have two months to get ready for the first race in Australia. We have to fight for this title, we have to get as many points as possible at every race."[126]

Alonso driving at the 2012 German Grand Prix.
Alonso driving at the 2012 German Grand Prix.

His main competition for the championship was Vettel;[127] Alonso won the Malaysian Grand Prix and the European Grand Prix and took points in the first eight rounds to hold a 20-point lead.[128] He then took two pole positions in inclement weather in Britain and Germany and finished second and first respectively to extend his championship lead to 40 points.[14][129] Thereafter collisions involving the Lotus cars of Romain Grosjean and Kimi Räikkönen in Belgium and Japan, an anti-roll bar failure during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix lost him a potential pole position and Vettel's improved performance eliminated Alonso's points lead;[14][130] Alonso entered the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix thirteen points behind Vettel. He needed to finish third and for Vettel not to score points to win his third title.[127] Alonso finished second in the race as Vettel came sixth; Alonso finished runner-up for the second time in his career with 278 points.[14][129]

Alonso qualifying for the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix.
Alonso qualifying for the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix.

He remained with Ferrari for the 2013 season.[2] Alonso expressed confidence he could perform better due to the recruitment of aerodynamicists to Ferrari: "We can be faster or slower [than the others] but not 1.5 or two seconds off the pace, because it was a record what we had last year. It is maybe impossible to be worse than last year, so I am confident."[131] The Ferrari F138 was designed aggressively and Alonso won in China and Spain.[14][132] He consistently accumulated points thereafter; Alonso was slower than Vettel after a change of tyre compounds at the German Grand Prix and developmental frontal and rear bodywork components intended to improve his car's performance was ineffective.[132][133] He was runner-up to Vettel for the third time in his career with 242 points.[14]

Alonso's relationship with Ferrari deteriorated midway through the year due to his perception the team could not construct a title-winning car.[14][134] His manager Luis Garcia Abad called a secret meeting with Red Bull's team principal Christian Horner in Hungary in late July to discuss Alonso joining them as teammate to Vettel for the 2014 season;[135] the move did not materialise and Alonso told the press after the Hungarian Grand Prix he wanted "La macchina degli altri" (English: "Somebody else's car") as a birthday present. The remark led Luca Cordero di Montezemolo to reprimand him by telephone. The Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali was concerned Alonso would take a sabbatical in 2014; he had retained Alonso's teammate Massa for 2013 to keep him satisfied and re-signed Räikkönen to the team as insurance had Alonso left.[f][134] Alonso talked to Horner and the Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey in Belgium in late August about joining the team. No agreement was reached.[134]

2014 and departure

Alonso practising for the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix.
Alonso practising for the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix.

Alonso stayed with Ferrari for the 2014 championship.[2] He began preparing for the season in December 2013 in the Ferrari simulator going through several ideas with the team's engineers to learn about how his car would behave in real life.[136] Alonso said he had additional motivation and optimism for the year ahead and would take a realistic approach due to reliability concerns: "I think this year everyone is more calm and everyone is a little bit more cautious about the possibility of finishing the race. But I think if we do everything right, we should be ready to do so and see finally where is our level of competitiveness."[137] The Ferrari F14 T was slower than the Mercedes car and Alonso finished sixth overall with 161 points. He took a third-place finish at the Chinese Grand Prix and was second at the Hungarian Grand Prix.[14][38] Alonso qualified better than Räikkönen sixteen times by an average of more than half a second per lap.[134]

Alonso had severe disagreements with Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci in 2014.[138] Mattiacci and Alonso unsuccessfully negotiated an extension to the latter's extract to remain at Ferrari.[139] He told di Montezemolo he wanted to leave the team and Mattiacci initially did not believe him.[138] Flavio Briatore attempted to engineer a switch for Lewis Hamilton to go to Ferrari and Alonso take his seat at Mercedes. Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal, blocked it because he preferred to keep Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and felt Alonso would create dissonance.[140] He asked Ferrari for an early release and signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2014 after Mattiacci rejected his proposal to enact extra contractual amendments for freedom of choice of Ferrari personnel.[139][140]

Second stint with McLaren (2015–2018)

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh set himself signing Alonso for the 2015 season after an attempt to sign him for the previous season was unsuccessful.[141] When Sebastian Vettel moved to Ferrari, Alonso had not signed a contract to rejoin McLaren.[139] Dennis invited him to tour Honda's motorsport and technology headquarters in Sakura to acquaint himself with the manufacturer's board members one day after the Japanese Grand Prix.[139] Alonso was convinced he had made the right decision,[139] and McLaren signed him to a three-year-contract until the end of the 2017 championship with no opt-out clauses.[142] Dennis re-signed Alonso because he believed the former was "one of the best if not the best driver" in Formula One and had matured.[139]

2015

During a pre-season test session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in February 2015, Alonso lost control of his McLaren MP4-30 and crashed heavily into a barrier into a right-hand side barrier at the exit of the track's third corner.[143] He did not lose consciousness upon impact only going into that state when he was administered medication en route to the circuit's medical centre by ambulance.[144] After doctors checked his condition, he was airlifted by helicopter to the Hospital General de Catalunya (English: General Hospital of Catalonia) in Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona.[145] CT and MRA scans discovered he was concussed.[145] Alonso was released from hospital on 3 March to recuperate at his home in Oviedo.[146]

Alonso at the British Grand Prix, where scored his first points of the season.
Alonso at the British Grand Prix, where scored his first points of the season.

Doctors tested Alonso's reflexes and the state of his memory.[147] They advised him to miss the season-opening Australian Grand Prix to minimise the risk of second-impact syndrome. McLaren's test and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen replaced Alonso.[146] He requested access to McLaren's interactive data system and spoke daily to his team principal Éric Boullier.[148] He passed FIA-assessed memory examinations and reflex tests at the University of Cambridge on 22 March.[149][150] Alonso later passed an impact test and a race craft examination to compete at the Malaysian Grand Prix.[149][151]

He endured a difficult season as the McLaren-Honda package was unreliable and lacked straight-line speed.[152] Alonso scored points twice during the year: a tenth-place at the British Grand Prix followed with a fifth at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He finished 17th in the drivers' championship with eleven points, five points behind teammate Jenson Button.[14] Alonso was dissatisfied with the lacklustre straight-line performance, which became evident after multiple team radio complaints throughout the season.[153][154] Alonso said he was frustrated at the team's reliability trouble and urged them to improve on it for 2016.[155]

2016–2017

Alonso driving at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix.
Alonso driving at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix.

Despite the unreliable and noncompetitive car,[156] Alonso drove for McLaren in 2016 after he told Dennis he would not go on a sabbatical.[157][158] He said he was motivated to improve on his performance.[159] Injuries from a heavy crash with Esteban Gutiérrez at the season-opening race in Australia caused him to miss the following Bahrain Grand Prix on medical grounds and McLaren's reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne replaced him,[160] whom he helped.[157] Alonso out-qualified his teammate Jenson Button fifteen times and scored points nine times.[14] His highest finish was a pair of fifth places at the Monaco Grand Prix and the United States Grand Prix, and he scored the fastest lap of the Italian Grand Prix. Alonso finished tenth in the drivers' championship with 54 points, a marked improvement compared to the previous season.[161]

He told employees at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking in December 2016 he would continue to drive for McLaren into the 2017 season.[162] Mercedes contacted Alonso soon after Nico Rosberg retired and he said he did not want to join them because he wanted to remain at McLaren until his contract expired.[163] Éric Boullier was concerned Alonso would leave the team at the season's close.[164] Alonso said he felt McLaren would be competitive and would be unaffected by the emotions of its employees.[165]

Alonso driving in practice for the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix.
Alonso driving in practice for the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix.

Poor reliability marred his 2017 season, especially during the early rounds. Alonso attained a season-high qualifying result of seventh at the Spanish Grand Prix and set the Hungarian Grand Prix's fastest lap en route to sixth.[14] After taking three consecutive points finishes in the last three races of the season, Alonso finished 15th in the drivers' championship with 17 points.[14] Jenson Button drove his car at the Monaco Grand Prix, as he took part in the Indianapolis 500 during the same weekend.[166] Alonso was again dissatisfied with engine performance, leading him to publicly criticise the engine and inform Yusuke Hasegawa, the head of Honda's Formula One project, about the matter.[167][168][169] Alonso contemplated leaving Formula One to focus on the Triple Crown of Motorsport.[g][170]

2018 and retirement

Alonso during practice for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix.
Alonso during practice for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix.

Following a contract negotiation period with the McLaren CEO Zak Brown that began in early 2017,[171] Alonso signed a multi-year extension with McLaren on 19 October.[172] He entered the 2018 season spending more time with his team when not driving, and anticipating possibilities for podium finishes and challenging Red Bull Racing.[170][173] Alonso's best result was fifth at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, and he finished in the top ten nine times throughout the season.[14] He out-qualified his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne at every race. Alonso announced his retirement from the sport in August, and ended his Formula One career with six consecutive non-scoring finishes in the McLaren MCL33.[174][175] He was 11th in the Drivers' Championship with 50 points.[176]

Alonso left Formula One as a driver at the end of the season. He cited a perceived lack of on-track racing, the predictability of a Grand Prix's finishing order and felt discussions away from racing about the broadcast of radio transmissions and polemics harmed Formula One.[177] Chief executive Chase Carey and Liberty Media had attempted to convince Alonso to remain in the series before he decided against it.[178] He remained at McLaren as a brand ambassador to aid and advise its engineers and drivers. Alonso also drove in select test sessions to develop the MCL34 and MCL35 cars.[179] Alonso drove the MCL34 during a two-day in-season post-race Bahrain test in April 2019 to develop tyres for Pirelli.[180] No further runs were planned for Alonso and McLaren focused on their current driver.[181] Alonso's ambassador contract with McLaren expired at the end of 2019, and was not renewed for 2020.[182]

Endurance racing career

Alonso made his sports car endurance racing debut at the 1999 24 Hours of Barcelona. Paired with Antonio García, Salvi Delmuns and the journalist Pedro Fermín Flores, the quartet third in the M10 class and tenth overall in an Hyundai Accent.[183] Sixteen years later, Alonso was due to enter the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans with Porsche's Le Mans Prototype 1 team before Honda blocked it.[184]

WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (2018–2019)

In September 2017, Alonso told the McLaren chief executive offer Zak Brown he wanted to drive in the 2018 24 Hours of Daytona as preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Brown agreed to the idea and assigned Alonso to drive for United Autosports.[185] Alonso entered the race because he sought a different challenge and spoke to García on what to expect.[186] He drove a Ligier JS P217 in a test session at the Ciudad del Motor de Aragón on 21 November and driver Filipe Albuquerque advised him.[187] Alonso, the sports car entrant Philip Hanson and McLaren's reserve driver Lando Norris qualified 13th and finished 38th after multiple mechanical issues affected the car during the race.[188] Alonso returned to race in the 2019 24 Hours of Daytona with Wayne Taylor Racing. He shared a Cadillac DPi-V.R with Kamui Kobayashi, Renger van der Zande and Jordan Taylor; the quartet completed 593 laps to win the rain-shortened event.[189]

FIA World Endurance Championship (2018–2019)

Toyota was interested in talking to potential drivers for its FIA World Endurance Championship team and Alonso knew the technical director Pascal Vasselon from Formula One. Brown discussed an entry for the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans with Alonso and was prepared to consent to a switch to another team if certain circumstances were met.[190] Alonso and Toyota held talks and agreed to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.[191] He visited Toyota's factory in Cologne for a seat fitting in a TS050 Hybrid in November 2017.[192] Toyota entered Alonso into a post-season rookie test at the Bahrain International Circuit later that month to build momentum.[193] In January 2018, McLaren and Toyota reached an agreement to allow Alonso to enter the full 2018–19 FIA World Endurance Championship to increase his motivation.[h][195] He joined Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima in Toyota's No. 8 TS050 Hybrid and replaced Anthony Davidson.[194]

Alonso drove a 2018 TS050 Hybrid in a three-day test session at the Ciudad del Motor de Aragón in February and drove with no artificial lights in a 24-hour kart race as preparation.[196][197] He adapted to driving the car and provided feedback to Toyota and his fellow drivers on how to develop it mechanically and technically.[198] He, Buemi and Nakajima took 198 points and the LMP1 Drivers' Championship with five victories including the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans over the eight round season, though this was enhanced by their teammates Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López suffering a sensor issue while leading the 2019 6 Hours of Spa and then suffering a puncture while comfortably leading the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans with an hour remaining.[14][199][200][201][202] Toyota was the only factory LMP1 team that season, and the only to field hybrid cars.[203] Alonso left the series afterwards to focus on other ventures. The two-time World Endurance champion and 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans co-winner Brendon Hartley replaced him.[204]

IndyCar Series

Alonso's car prior to the 2017 Indianapolis 500.
Alonso's car prior to the 2017 Indianapolis 500.

McLaren Honda Andretti (2017)

Before the 2017 Australian Grand Prix, Zak Brown said to Alonso they should enter the 2017 Indianapolis 500 to which Alonso suggested he was joking. Alonso later told Brown he was happy with the idea since McLaren had won it before. He and his manager Luis Garcia Abad met Brown and Éric Boullier in China and Alonso said to Brown he wanted to race at Indianapolis because it was "a good decision for everyone: a win, win for myself, for F1, the fans, everyone'."[205] Brown then spoke to the IndyCar Series chief executive officer Mark Miles and discovered that there were no Honda-powered cars.[206] Miles met the Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti, who got driver Stefan Wilson to agree to forego his planned entry in partnership with Michael Shank Racing and allow Alonso to drive instead.[207]

Alonso was mentored by the 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran,[208] and Michael Andretti was his strategist.[209] He visited Andretti Autosport's headquarters in Indianapolis on 24 April for a seat fitting and was acquainted senior team staff.[210] He used Honda Performance Development's oval simulator with De Ferran supervising.[209] Driving the No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Dallara DW12,[211] Alonso set the fifth-fastest four-lap average speed in qualifying.[210] In the race, he led four times for a total of 27 laps before his engine failed while running in 7th place with 21 laps to go and finished 24th.[210][212]

McLaren Racing (2019)

McLaren entered the 2019 Indianapolis 500 and not the full 2019 IndyCar Series because the team focused on Formula One.[213] Alonso had a seat fitting in the No. 66 Dallara IR18-Chevrolet at the McLaren Technology Centre in early March 2019 to better adapt to IndyCar. Andy Brown was Alonso's race engineer and his chief mechanic was Liam Dance.[214] Alonso did not qualify after Juncos Racing's Kyle Kaiser demoted him to 34th.[i] Reasons included a dismantled spare car that was assembled and flown from Carlin's factory after Alonso crashed in practice. An error converting inches to the metric system caused his car to scrape along the tarmac surface and incorrect gear ratios slowed him.[216]

Arrow McLaren SP (2020)

He is due to enter the 2020 Indianapolis 500 with Arrow McLaren SP after an agreement with Andretti Autosports fell through.[217]

Other racing ventures

Alonso won the 2001 Race of Champions Nations Cup with the rally driver Jesús Puras and the motorcyclist Rubén Xaus for Team Spain.[218] He returned to the Race of Champions Nations Cup in the 2002 event to join Puras and the MotoGP rider Carlos Checa in Team Spain;[219] the trio were eliminated when Alonso lost to Jeff Gordon of the United States in his group heat race.[220] He and the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson had an unplanned cultural exchange at the Bahrain International Circuit on 26 November 2018.[221] Both drivers drove a McLaren MP4-28 and a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and compared them.[222][223]

Off-road racing

Alonso told Toyota he would like to enter the Dakar Rally and win it. Toyota was surprised and he said to them to "try at least".[224] Toyota South Africa organised a two-day evaluation test for Alonso to acclimatise to rally raid conditions in a Toyota Hilux in South Africa's Kalahari Desert in March 2019 and was mentored by Giniel de Villiers.[225] The manufacturer later provided him a five-month training programme with tests in Africa, Europe and the Middle East and was entered into a series of events with the objective of developing his driving ability for an potential entry into the 2020 Dakar Rally.[j][227][226] He raced in the Lichtenburg 400 in South Africa, the Rally du Maroc in Morocco and the Al Ula–Neom Rally in Saudi Arabia,[228] with the five-time Dakar Rally bike class winner Marc Coma his co-driver. Alonso was third at the Al Ula-Neom Rally, which was his highest finish in three preparation events.[229] Alonso finished 13th on his Dakar Rally debut, posting a best stage finish of runner-up. A stop for repairs on the second stage and a roll on the 10th stage cost him several hours in the general classification.[230]

Driving ability

Alonso is often regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in the history of the sport.[231] Journalists and fellow drivers regarded Alonso as a fast and consistent driver who can extract additional pace from a car in all weathers and all tracks.[117][232] He increases his pace at important points of a race and knows when to preserve the life of his car's tyres.[232] Former racing driver and the Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle described Alonso as "Senna-like in his intimate feel for where the grip is" and cited the drivers' knowledge on how much grip to use for the entry to a turn.[232] He drives aggressively and uses a braking area to put a car into a corner without losing speed exiting it. This allows Alonso to keep it "on the edge of adhesion" and it has been observed during a qualifying session and the first laps of a Grand Prix.[17] He uses more of his ability for longer periods of time than other drivers and is better able to understand his personal limits.[117]

His experience increased his awareness of events around him and competitors in a race and adjusted his situation to focus on the drivers' championship.[233] Alonso is an all-round driver who can mount an apex and correct a sliding car to lower his lap times.[234] He is careful in finding the ideal feeling with his brakes and can apply the maximum amount of force with a fast response time. Alonso's physical strength contrasts his braking skill and regularly exceeded that limit without overdoing it on multiple conditions.[235] According to Jonathan Noble of motorsport.com, this allows Alonso to "create a kind of natural ABS – fully exploiting tyre grip to achieve greater speeds while turning without locking the wheels."[235]

Helmet and career number

Helmet design

Alonso's helmet manufactured by Bieffe (2001), Arai (2003–2009, 2016), Schuberth (2010–2015)[236][237] Bell (2017–)[238] sports the yellow and red colours of the flag of Spain with shades of blue from the Asturias flag coupled with two silver thunderbolt arrows derived from a remote control car he received as a present in his childhood on top.[239] He changed its mainbase colour design when switching teams during his Formula One career; in 2008 Alonso attached two pictures of a spade, ace and heart symbol to show he was a two-time world champion.[240]

The racing helmet Alonso wore at the 2013 Indian Grand Prix to commemorate him scoring 1571 career points.
The racing helmet Alonso wore at the 2013 Indian Grand Prix to commemorate him scoring 1571 career points.

For three successive Monaco Grand Prix from 2011 to 2013 and at the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix, he wore a gold and white coloured helmet to replace the blue and yellow.[241][242] At the following 2013 Indian Grand Prix, Alonso sported a white helmet to celebrate his total number of career points scored up to the preceding Japanese Grand Prix of 1571 and with the words "F1 points World Record" accompanied with a thank you message in English, French and Italian.[243]

His final event for Ferrari at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix saw him wear a helmet with a picture depicting a pit stop in that year in the colour red, signature of various team members and the flag of Italy in the centre.[244] At the 2017 Indianapolis 500 and the 2017 United States Grand Prix, Alonso sported a black helmet with red, yellow and blue stripes around it and his race number.[245][246] He revised the helmet's livery design for the 2018 24 Hours of Daytona to white instead of black and had no stripes around its front. The back had the layout of the Daytona International Speedway and continued to have his usual blue, red and yellow colours.[245]

In 2018 Alonso changed its front livery to be predominantly blue with its back top lighter blue and the rear red and yellow.[247] His helmet for the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was divided equally between the flag of Spain on the right with a blue-checkered pattern around its side. The yellow on that area was replaced by gold between two horizontal stripes in red and a thick vertical strip was added with a list of Alonso's 32 Formula One race victories.[248]

Career number

For the 2014 season, the FIA created a new regulation that allows a driver to select a car number for use throughout their Formula One career. Alonso requested the number 14 for it has been his lucky number since he had won the world karting championship at the age of 14 on 14 July 1996.[249]

Image and impact

Nate Saunders of ESPN writes that Alonso "is one of the most eloquent speakers in Formula One and one of the best at interacting with the media".[250] He occasionally uses press conference with the press to cultivate particular narratives of a story, convey himself as controlling the Formula One driver market or as the one with knowledge of facts of a situation.[250] Alonso dislikes fame, prefers a private life,[251] and Chris Jenkins for USA Today described him as a shy individual.[3] He eschews expensive habits and items,[84] and in his early career brought an entourage of childhood friends to Formula One races.[251] Alonso is an atheist and a non-believer in destiny.[252]

Alonso at the 2015 Honda Racing Thanks Day.
Alonso at the 2015 Honda Racing Thanks Day.

His public persona is very different from his private personality.[253] Fellow driver Carlos Sainz Jr. noted "there are two Fernandos", alluding to Alonso's defensive nature when criticised because of his shyness, compared to his sense of humour, generosity and kind-nature when not racing.[253] According to the Autosport journalist Ben Anderson, Alonso's success in Formula One required him to behave egotistically and selfishly and has a self-confidence to easily deal of the consequences of taking an approach of able to "burst egotistical bubbles" to improve himself.[253] Alonso acknowledged the façade and told Anderson "I know who I am outside of F1, but that remains a question mark for everybody because I like to separate my personal life from my professional life" and his different personality traits in public and private.[253]

Journalist Nigel Roebuck calls Alonso "the first world-class racing driver to come out of Spain",[251] and is credited for popularising Formula One in the country, where it was once considered a fringe sport and a lesser known form of motorsport than motorcycling and rallying.[254] He was Personality Media's favourite male athlete with a 99 percent recognition rating amongst the Spanish public in 2015;[255] in the latter part of his Formula One career, Alonso was within the top two most popular drivers in the Grand Prix Drivers' Association fan surveys of 2010, 2015 and 2017.[256]

The Fernando Alonso Sports Complex in Oviedo was opened in June 2015 and features a CIK-FIA compliant karting track featuring 29 layouts. A museum dedicated to his racing career called 'Museo y Circuito Fernando Alonso' opened in the same year and features Alonso's race cars, helmets, overalls and memorabilia.[257]

Endorsements and philanthropy

Alonso has done business with Banco Santander, Cajastur, TAG Heuer, Europcar, Silestone,[258] Liberbank,[259] ING,[260] Chandon,[261] and Adidas.[262] He is the founder and brand ambassador of the fashion retailer Kimoa,[263] and intended to establish the Fernando Alonso Cycling Team to compete in UCI events in 2015 before the project failed to materialise.[k][264] As a result of Alonso's endorsement money and Formula One salary, he has been listed as one of the world's highest-paid athletes by Forbes every year from 2012 to 2018.[265] The magazine named him motorsport's top-earning driver from June 2012 to June 2013,[266] one of 2016's top earning international stars,[267] and one of 2017's highest-paid international and European celebrities.[268][269] Alonso also featured on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list in 2008 and 2017.[270]

In November 2017 Alonso established an eSports racing team called FA Racing G2 Logitech G of which he is the team principal and competes in virtual online racing championships on multiple platforms.[271] The team dissolved in 2018 and he subsequently launched a second team in partnership with FA Racing and Veloce Esports in March 2019.[272] Alonso's team has also competed in the F4 Spanish Championship, the Formula Renault Eurocup and karting.[273] He is an investor and board member of the eSports multi-racing platform Motorsport Games.[274]

The UNICEF Spanish Committee named Alonso a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in February 2005 to promote and defend children's rights and awareness of UNICEF.[275] Alonso promoted India's efforts to eradicate polio in 2011 and handwashing with soap to school children in 2012.[276][277] He supported UNICEF's anti-cyberbullying campaign in November 2017.[278] Alonso founded the Fundación Fernando Alonso (English: Fernando Alonso Foundation) in 2007 to promote motor racing and road safety education.[241]

Awards

Alonso received the 2003 Autosport Gregor Grant Award for his victory of the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix.[279] He also won the Princess Cristina National Sports Award for sporting newcomer in that year.[280] Alonso was named the recipient of the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy in April 2005.[281] From October 2005 to May 2006 he received the Prince of Asturias Award for Sports, the Premios Nacionales del Deporte Sportsman of the Year Award and the Gold Medal of the Royal Order of Sports Merit for winning the 2005 Formula One World Championship.[282]

He was named the 2006 Autosport International Racing Driver of the Year.[283] Eleven years later, Alonso was voted the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year for his performance in the 2017 Indianapolis 500.[212] He was inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame in 2017 for being a Formula One World Champion and for a second time as a FIA World Endurance Champion in 2019.[284][285] This made Alonso the first driver to have been inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame twice.[285]

Racing record

Career summary

Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
1999 Euro Open by Nissan Campos Motorsport 15 6 6 5 8 164 1st
2000 International Formula 3000 Team Astromega 9 1 1 2 2 17 4th
2001 Formula One European Minardi F1 Team 17 0 0 0 0 0 23rd
2002 Formula One Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Test driver
2003 Formula One Mild Seven Renault F1 Team 16 1 2 1 4 55 6th
2004 Formula One Mild Seven Renault F1 Team 18 0 1 0 4 59 4th
2005 Formula One Mild Seven Renault F1 Team 19 7 6 2 15 133 1st
2006 Formula One Mild Seven Renault F1 Team 18 7 6 5 14 134 1st
2007 Formula One Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 17 4 2 3 12 109 3rd
2008 Formula One ING Renault F1 Team 18 2 0 0 3 61 5th
2009 Formula One ING Renault F1 Team 17 0 1 2 1 26 9th
2010 Formula One Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 19 5 2 5 10 252 2nd
2011 Formula One Scuderia Ferrari 19 1 0 1 10 257 4th
2012 Formula One Scuderia Ferrari 20 3 2 0 13 278 2nd
2013 Formula One Scuderia Ferrari 19 2 0 2 9 242 2nd
2014 Formula One Scuderia Ferrari 19 0 0 0 2 161 6th
2015 Formula One McLaren Honda 18 0 0 0 0 11 17th
2016 Formula One McLaren Honda 20 0 0 1 0 54 10th
2017 Formula One McLaren Honda 19 0 0 1 0 17 15th
IndyCar Series McLaren-Honda-Andretti 1 0 0 0 0 47 29th
2018 Formula One McLaren F1 Team 21 0 0 0 0 50 11th
24 Hours of Le Mans Toyota Gazoo Racing 1 1 1 0 1 N/A 1st
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship United Autosports 1 0 0 0 0 18 58th
2018–19 FIA World Endurance Championship Toyota Gazoo Racing 8 5 4 0 7 198 1st
2019 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Konica Minolta Cadillac 1 1 0 0 1 35 27th
24 Hours of Le Mans Toyota Gazoo Racing 1 1 0 0 1 N/A 1st
IndyCar Series McLaren Racing 0 0 0 0 0 0 NC
2020 Dakar Rally Toyota Gazoo Racing 1 0 N/A 0 N/A 13th
Source:[14][286]

* Still in progress.

Complete Euro Open by Nissan results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap; small number indicates the finishing position)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 DC Points
1999 Campos Motorsport ALB
1

Ret
ALB
2

1
JER
1

Ret
JER
2

DNS
JAR
1

Ret
JAR
2

1
MNZ
1

Ret
MNZ
2

Ret
JAR
1

2
JAR
2

Ret
DON
1

1
DON
2

1
CAT
1

7
CAT
2

1
VAL
1

2
VAL
2

1
1st 164
Source:[287]

Complete International Formula 3000 results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap; small number indicates the finishing position)

Year Entrant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 DC Points
2000 Team Astromega IMO
9
SIL
EX
CAT
15
NÜR
Ret
MON
8
MAG
Ret
A1R
6
HOC
Ret
HUN
2
SPA
1
4th 17
Source:[288]

Complete Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap; small number indicates the finishing position)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 WDC Pts
2001 European Minardi F1 Team Minardi PS01 European (Cosworth) 3.0 V10 AUS
12
MAL
13
BRA
Ret
SMR
Ret
ESP
13
AUT
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
EUR
14
FRA
17
GBR
16
GER
10
HUN
Ret
BEL
DNS
ITA
13
USA
Ret
JPN
11
23rd 0
2003 Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Renault R23 Renault RS23 3.0 V10 AUS
7
MAL
3
BRA
3
SMR
6
ESP
2
AUT
Ret
MON
5
CAN
4
EUR
4
FRA
Ret
6th 55
Renault R23B GBR
Ret
GER
4
HUN
1
ITA
8
USA
Ret
JPN
Ret
2004 Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Renault R24 Renault RS24 3.0 V10 AUS
3
MAL
7
BHR
6
SMR
4
ESP
4
MON
Ret
EUR
5
CAN
Ret
USA
Ret
FRA
2
GBR
10
GER
3
HUN
3
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
CHN
4
JPN
5
BRA
4
4th 59
2005 Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Renault R25 Renault RS25 3.0 V10 AUS
3
MAL
1
BHR
1
SMR
1
ESP
2
MON
4
EUR
1
CAN
Ret
USA
DNS
FRA
1
GBR
2
GER
1
HUN
11
TUR
2
ITA
2
BEL
2
BRA
3
JPN
3
CHN
1
1st 133
2006 Mild Seven Renault F1 Team Renault R26 Renault RS26 2.4 V8 BHR
1
MAL
2
AUS
1
SMR
2
EUR
2
ESP
1
MON
1
GBR
1
CAN
1
USA
5
FRA
2
GER
5
HUN
Ret
TUR
2
ITA
Ret
CHN
2
JPN
1
BRA
2
1st 134
2007 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes McLaren MP4-22 Mercedes FO 108T 2.4 V8 AUS
2
MAL
1
BHR
5
ESP
3
MON
1
CAN
7
USA
2
FRA
7
GBR
2
EUR
1
HUN
4
TUR
3
ITA
1
BEL
3
JPN
Ret
CHN
2
BRA
3
3rd 109
2008 ING Renault F1 Team Renault R28 Renault RS27 2.4 V8 AUS
4
MAL
8
BHR
10
ESP
Ret
TUR
6
MON
10
CAN
Ret
FRA
8
GBR
6
GER
11
HUN
4
EUR
Ret
BEL
4
ITA
4
SIN
1
JPN
1
CHN
4
BRA
2
5th 61
2009 ING Renault F1 Team Renault R29 Renault RS27 2.4 V8 AUS
5
MAL
11
CHN
9
BHR
8
ESP
5
MON
7
TUR
10
GBR
14
GER
7
HUN
Ret
EUR
6
BEL
Ret
ITA
5
9th 26
Renault F1 Team SIN
3
JPN
10
BRA
Ret
ABU
14
2010 Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari F10 Ferrari 056 2.4 V8 BHR
1
AUS
4
MAL
13
CHN
4
ESP
2
MON
6
TUR
8
CAN
3
EUR
8
GBR
14
GER
1
HUN
2
BEL
Ret
ITA
1
SIN
1
JPN
3
KOR
1
BRA
3
ABU
7
2nd 252
2011 Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari 150º Italia Ferrari 056 2.4 V8 AUS
4
MAL
6
CHN
7
TUR
3
ESP
5
MON
2
CAN
Ret
EUR
2
4th 257
Scuderia Ferrari GBR
1
GER
2
HUN
3
BEL
4
ITA
3
SIN
4
JPN
2
KOR
5
IND
3
ABU
2
BRA
4
2012 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F2012 Ferrari 056 2.4 V8 AUS
5
MAL
1
CHN
9
BHR
7
ESP
2
MON
3
CAN
5
EUR
1
GBR
2
GER
1
HUN
5
BEL
Ret
ITA
3
SIN
3
JPN
Ret
KOR
3
IND
2
ABU
2
USA
3
BRA
2
2nd 278
2013 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F138 Ferrari 056 2.4 V8 AUS
2
MAL
Ret
CHN
1
BHR
8
ESP
1
MON
7
CAN
2
GBR
3
GER
4
HUN
5
BEL
2
ITA
2
SIN
2
KOR
6
JPN
4
IND
11
ABU
5
USA
5
BRA
3
2nd 242
2014 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F14 T Ferrari 059/3 1.6 V6 t AUS
4
MAL
4
BHR
9
CHN
3
ESP
6
MON
4
CAN
6
AUT
5
GBR
6
GER
5
HUN
2
BEL
7
ITA
Ret
SIN
4
JPN
Ret
RUS
6
USA
6
BRA
6
ABU
9
6th 161
2015 McLaren Honda McLaren MP4-30 Honda RA615H 1.6 V6 t AUS MAL
Ret
CHN
12
BHR
11
ESP
Ret
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
AUT
Ret
GBR
10
HUN
5
BEL
13
ITA
18
SIN
Ret
JPN
11
RUS
11
USA
11
MEX
Ret
BRA
15
ABU
17
17th 11
2016 McLaren Honda McLaren MP4-31 Honda RA616H 1.6 V6 t AUS
Ret
BHR CHN
12
RUS
6
ESP
Ret
MON
5
CAN
11
EUR
Ret
AUT
18
GBR
13
HUN
7
GER
12
BEL
7
ITA
14
SIN
7
MAL
7
JPN
16
USA
5
MEX
13
BRA
10
ABU
10
10th 54
2017 McLaren Honda McLaren MCL32 Honda RA617H 1.6 V6 t AUS
Ret
CHN
Ret
BHR
14
RUS
DNS
ESP
12
MON CAN
16
AZE
9
AUT
Ret
GBR
Ret
HUN
6
BEL
Ret
ITA
17
SIN
Ret
MAL
11
JPN
11
USA
Ret
MEX
10
BRA
8
ABU
9
15th 17
2018 McLaren F1 Team McLaren MCL33 Renault R.E.18 1.6 V6 t AUS
5
BHR
7
CHN
7
AZE
7
ESP
8
MON
Ret
CAN
Ret
FRA
16
AUT
8
GBR
8
GER
16
HUN
8
BEL
Ret
ITA
Ret
SIN
7
RUS
14
JPN
14
USA
Ret
MEX
Ret
BRA
17
ABU
11
11th 50
Source:[289]

Did not finish, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.

American open-wheel racing results

IndyCar Series

Year Team Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Rank Points
2017 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Dallara DW12 Honda STP LBH ALA PHX IMS INDY
24
DET DET TXS RDA IOW TOR MDO POC GTW WGL SNM 29th 47
2019 McLaren Racing Dallara DW12 Chevrolet STP COA ALA LBH IMS INDY
DNQ
DET DET TXS RDA TOR IOW MDO POC GTW POR LAG 0
Source:[290]

Indianapolis 500

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish Team
2017 Dallara Honda 5 24 McLaren-Honda-Andretti
2019 Dallara Chevrolet DNQ McLaren Racing
Source:[290]

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap; small number indicates the finishing position)

Year Team Class Make Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Rank Points
2018 United Autosports P Ligier JS P217 Gibson GK428 4.2 L V8 DAY
13
SEB LBH MDO DET WGL MOS ELK LGA PET 58th 18
2019 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi Cadillac DPi-V.R Cadillac 5.5 L V8 DAY
1
SEB LBH MDO DET WGL MOS ELK LGA PET 27th 35
Source:[291][292]

24 Hours of Daytona

Year Team Co-drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
pos.
2018 United States United Autosports United Kingdom Philip Hanson
United Kingdom Lando Norris
Ligier JS P217-Gibson P 718 38th 13th
2019 United States Konica Minolta Cadillac Japan Kamui Kobayashi
United States Jordan Taylor
Netherlands Renger van der Zande
Cadillac DPi-V.R DPi 593 1st 1st
Source:[292]

Complete FIA World Endurance Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap; small number indicates the finishing position)

Year Entrant Class Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Rank Points
2018–19 Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 Toyota TS050 Hybrid Toyota 2.4 L Turbo V6 (Hybrid) SPA
1
LMS
1
SIL
DSQ
FUJ
2
SHA
2
SEB
1
SPA
1
LMS
1
1st 198
Source:[292][293]

24 Hours of Le Mans results

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class
Pos.
2018 Japan Toyota Gazoo Racing Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 388 1st 1st
2019 Japan Toyota Gazoo Racing Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 385 1st 1st
Source:[292]

Dakar Rally results

Year Class Vehicle Position Stages won
2020 Car Japan Toyota 13th 0

Notes and references

Notes

  1. ^ Gião filed an appeal under the belief Alonso had passed him under yellow flag conditions. The appeal was rejected because Gião had filed it through his manager and not his team; officials subsequently confirmed Alonso's championship win.[27]
  2. ^ a b c Sebastian Vettel is the current holder of the youngest Formula One pole position starter, race winner, youngest world champion and two-time world champion.[54]
  3. ^ Max Verstappen is the incumbent holder of the record for the youngest Formula One race winner in history when he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix at 18 years and 228 days.[54]
  4. ^ Ferrari considered Alonso as a replacement for the retired Michael Schumacher before they chose Kimi Räikkönen.[73]
  5. ^ Pedro de la Rosa, the team's test driver, had convinced Alonso for a long period of time to join McLaren because of his admiration for them.[74]
  6. ^ Alonso's comments in the press about Kimi Räikkönen returning to Ferrari in 2014 was an indication he favoured Felipe Massa as his teammate.[132]
  7. ^ The Triple Crown of Motorsport is composed of Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.[170]
  8. ^ The owners of the Fuji Speedway, which organised the 6 Hours of Fuji, had a request granted for its race to be moved back by a week to allow Alonso to compete in the event and avoid a date clash with the 2018 United States Grand Prix.[194]
  9. ^ McLaren offered to purchase the Arrow Schmidt Peterson car of Oriol Servià to allow Alonso to enter the race and meet sponsorship obligations since the two teams were in a partnership. Alonso was against replacing a driver who had qualified and McLaren opted against doing so.[215]
  10. ^ Alonso had an clause to opt out of the Dakar event had he not felt adequately prepared and comfortable.[226]
  11. ^ The leaked Paradise Papers stated Alonso's manager Luis García Abad founded and constituted the Revolution Holdings Limited for the team on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Documents released to the Spanish media revealed the Directorate-General for the Treasury knew about its existence and accounts.[264]

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Further reading

  • Actis, Raquel (2003). Fernando Alonso: El Principe de la Formula 1 (in Spanish). Nuevas Ediciones del Motor. ISBN 978-84-607-9784-5.
  • Seara, Victor (2004). Fernando Alonso: Una Estrella en El Mundo de la Formula 1 (in Spanish). La Esfera de los Libros. ISBN 978-84-9734-182-0.
  • Actis, Raquel; Luis Criado (2005). Fernando Alonso: La Lucha por la Superacion (in Spanish). Cultural. ISBN 978-84-609-7818-3.
  • Viaplana, Josep (2005). El nuevo rey-Campeón Fernando Alonso (in Spanish). Ediciones B. ISBN 978-84-666-1798-7.
  • Brian, Rodrigo Castillo; del Arco de Izco, Javier; Lobato, Antonio (2005). Los 100 Mejores Pilotos de Fórmula 1: De Nino Farina a Fernando Alonso, 1950–2005 (in Spanish). Cahoba Promociones y Ediciones. ISBN 978-84-9832-056-5.
  • Camus, Martine (2006). Fernando Alonso: Le Sacre de la Jeunesse (in French). Chronosports. ISBN 978-2-84707-108-5.

External links

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