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Fernando Alonso

Alpine F1
Nationality esp Spanish
Birthplace Oviedo, Spain
Date of birth 29/07/1981 (40 yr.)
F1 debute 2001, Australia

F1 season 2021

WC Position 10
Races 14
WC points 50.0
Victories 0
Podiums 0
Pole positions 0

F1 career

World titles 2
WC points 1949
Races 326
Victories 32
Podium places 97
Pole positions 22

After two years out of the sport, Fernando Alonso returns to Formula 1 with Alpine - formerly Renault - for 2021. The two-time World Champion is widely regarded as one of the most complete drivers in the world, and the French team will be hoping his experience helps push them further up the grid after a fifth-place finish in 2020.

Personal Information

Name Fernando Alonso
Team Alpine
Date of Birth July 29, 1981
Place of Birth Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
Age 39
Height 1.71m (5' 6")
Weight 68kg
Nationality Spanish
Race Number 14

Biography of Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso

A two-time F1 World Champion, Fernando Alonso has been a key figure in the sport for close to two decades since making his debut for Minardi back in 2001.

Born to a working class family in Oviedo, the Spaniard began karting at the age of three and didn't look back from there, achieving success at a local, national and world level.

How did Alonso go from karting success to F1 glory? Here is everything you need to know about the life of Fernando Alonso.

Karting career

Alonso's father, Jose Luis Alonso, was an amateur kart driver and wanted a hobby to share with his children. While Fernando's older sister, Lorena, didn't latch on to the activity, it was given to her then three-year old brother.

After Fernando's father rejected an offer from Spanish football club Celta Vigo to become a goalkeeper, the family put their efforts into his karting career. Given the financial costs associated with the venture, Alonso was helped by Genis Marco and his ability to put together personal and sponsorship money.

Victories in the children's junior championship gave way to three successive Spanish Junior National Championships from 1993 to 1995. From there Alonso progressed to wins in the Italian and Spanish International A championships, along with second in the European Championship.

			© Renault
	© Renault

Junior career, F1 start and Renault move

Alonso made his car racing debut at the 1999 Euro Open by Nissan with Campos Motorsport at the age of 17. He won the title at the final race of the season after claiming six wins and nine pole positions, making the hump to the International Formula 3000 Championship with the Minardi-backed Team Astromega.

Minardi sports director Cesare Fiorio gave Alonso his first test in an F1 car at Jerez as part of Euro Open by Nissan's agreement to give its champion an opportunity to test at higher level. From there the Spaniard was named test and reserve driver in 2000 before joining the team in 2001.

After ending the season with no points and a best result of 10th place, Alonso became Renault test driver for 2002 before becoming Jarno Trulli's teammate for the 2003 season. At just his second race, Alonso became the youngest driver to take a pole position at the Malaysian Grand Prix and then breaking Bruce McLaren's record for youngest fav winner at the Hungarian GP later in the year. The Spaniard ended the season sixth in the standings with 55 points.

The 2004 season saw Alonso continue to make a name for himself, finishing on the podium four times and taking pole at the French Grand Prix. However it was 2005 when he really burst onto the scene, battling it out with McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen for the title after rules mandated that tyres not be changed during a race and engines had to last for two races.

Although the McLaren proved to be faster, reliability woes handed the title to Alonso, who passed Emerson Fittipaldi as the then youngster champion ever thanks to seven victories, six poles and 14 podium finishes.

Ferrari and Michael Schumacher bounced back in 2006, though it was Alonso who won six of the opening nine races. However after Renault's tuned mass damper was banned, Ferrari bounced back and the two drivers were level on points heading into the penultimate round in Japan. Schumacher's hopes of a title were ended when his engine expired while leading the race, handing the race win to Alonso, who clinched the title in Brazil.

Move to McLaren and Renault return

Alonso left Renault for McLaren on a three-year contract, partnering rookie Lewis Hamilton. Although the two were in contention for the F1 World Championship, they were involved in numerous incidents that soured their relationship. The most notable came at the Hungarian Grand Prix when Hamilton disobeyed a team instruction, which resulted in Alonso delaying Hamilton in the pit lane.

McLaren had their own issues with the Spygate controversy, but nevertheless both Alonso and Hamilton headed into the final race of the season with a chance to win the title. However it was Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen who came out on top by one point, while the Spaniard finished third in the standings. Although he had the same amount of points as Hamilton, the British driver finished second more often.

The fractured relationship resulted in Alonso and McLaren terminating their deal, and despite offers from several teams, he rejoined Renault on a two-year contract. After a slow start to the season Alonso scored more points than any other driver in the final five races. He won in Singapore and Japan, though the former came in controversial fashion. Teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed deliberately to trigger the deployment of the safety car in an event now down as Crashgate.

			© Ferrari
	© Ferrari

Ferrari switch

Despite offers from Red Bull and Honda, Alonso signed a contract to stay with Renault in 2009. However after a season that saw him finish ninth in the Drivers' Championship and the team were investigated for Crashgate, the Spaniard left for Ferrari in 2010. Alonso won his debut with the team at the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix, along with four other races to enter the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix atop the standings by eight points despite trailing by 47 at one point. However a strategic error by Ferrari left Alonso behind Renault's Vitaly Petrov, and as result he finished second in the standings behind Sebastian Vettel.

There was no title challenge in 2011 as Ferrari lacked aerodynamic grip and tyre handling. Alonso claimed 10 podium finishes, including a win at the British Grand Prix following a Red Bull strategy mistake, but it was only good enough for a fourth place finish in the standings.

After extending his contract with the team, Alonso returned to form in 2012 and once again competed with Vettel for the title. Wins in Malaysia, Valencia and Germany helped the Spaniard build a 40-point lead in the standings, however Vettel mounted a ferocious comeback to lead the standings by 13 points heading into the final race of the season in Brazil. Alonso finished second, however Vettel crossed the line sixth to once again deny the Ferrari driver.

There was little Alonso could do to deny Vettel in 2013 as the German cruised to another title ahead of the Spaniard, while 2014 saw Mercedes emerge as the team to beat. Alonso failed to win a race but did finish on the podium twice. However with Ferrari unable to deliver a championship-winning car, Alonso left for McLaren.

Back at McLaren

Alonso rejoined McLaren on a three-year contract with no opt-out clauses, but things didn't start off on the right foot. An accident during pre-season testing in February 2015 saw Alonso suffer a concussion, resulting in Kevin Magnussen replacing him at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

When the Spaniard returned things didn't go to plan as McLaren's Honda engine was severely under-powered, and as a result the team struggled mightily. Alonso finished in the points on just two occasions, and he was vocal about his displeasure via the team radio on several occasions.

A big crash with Esteban Gutierrez at the 2016 season opener in Australia resulted in Alonso missing the following race in Bahrain for medical reasons. He out qualified teammate Jenson Button 15 times during the season and finished in the points nine times to finish the season 10th in the Drivers' Championship with 54 points.

There was no leap forward in 2017, with the Spaniard suffering from poor reliability in several of the early rounds. His best finish was a seventh in Hungary, resulting in Alonso finishing 15th in the standings.

Sabbatical and F1 return with Alpine

Although Alonso signed a new deal and the beginning of the 2018 season started with a fifth place finish in Australia, it became apparent that the Spaniard was no longer happy in F1. He finished the season 11th in the standings and then announced his departure from the sport, citing a lack of on-track racing and dissatisfaction with the competition in F1. Although he remained a brand ambassador for McLaren, his contract expired at the end of 2019 and was not renewed.

After a two-year sabbatical, Alonso returned to the F1 grid in 2021 after signing a two-year deal with Alpine.

Other racing categories

Alonso made his endurance racing debut at the 1999 24 Hours of Barcelona, finishing 10th in a Hyundai Accent. In 2018 he took part in the 24 Hours of Daytona, sharing the No.22 United Autosports Ligier JS P2 with Lando Norris and Philip Hanson, though they finished 38th.

He then took part in the full 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship alongside Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, wining the title in the end after claiming five victories, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 2018 and 2019.

Alonso participated int he 2017 Indy 500 for McLaren Honda Andretti, qualifying fifth and leading four times before retiring from seventh spot due an engine failure with 21 laps remaining. Although he tried to take part in the 2019 event as well, he ultimately failed to qualify.

Lastly, Alonso also took part in the 2020 Dakar Rally for Toyota. Driving alongside Marc Coma, the duo finished 13th.

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