Driver Profile - Fernando Alonso
Date of Birth: 29th July 1981
Place of Birth: Oviedo, Spain
F1 Debut: Australia 2001
Fernando Alonso will go down in history as being the champion to really bring down Ferrari and specifically Michael Schumacher’s reign. After five years of domination, Schumacher finally found someone who could rival him on the track and in 2005, Alonso took the driver’s championship with the backing of his team Renault. They made it a double in 2006.
Alonso notably took part in his first ever kart race at the tender age of three, and swiftly made his way up through the ranks of karting before progressing to single seater car races. He was signed to the Benetton F1 team in 2001, as a test driver, but they loaned him to Minardi, who debuted him that year. Under the management of Flavio Briatore, Fernando Alonso stood out right from the beginning, outclassing his car from his first race.
Benetton called Alonso back to them in 2002, but they were now Renault, and after a couple of years, the partnership brought two years worth of driver and constructor championships.
In 2006, Alonso controversially said that he was not particularly interested in winning more than three championships, and that after he had achieved his goal he would probably retire. He wanted to prove that it was he who was winning and not just the car, so for 2007, he moved to McLaren. The partnership with both Ron Dennis and Lewis Hamilton looked to be a match made in heaven, but has seen a swift decline into alleged arguments, favouritism and blackmail.
One of the things that has become a lot more noticeable about Fernando, is that despite his prominence on track, he often feels the need to play games to stay ahead. It’s been said that the mind games he used to play at Renault left Fisichella with little confidence and could be the reason for his poor performance this year. 2007 has seen more of this, especially with the Hungarian Qualifying issues, where Hamilton made a decision not to let his team mate past, and Alonso took the matter into his own hands and screwed up Hamilton’s final flying lap.
Fighting for his third championship, Alonso wasn’t going to give in at any moment, but risked alienating himself from the entire team. He didn’t win the championship in the end, but he is probably only relieved that his team mate didn’t either. Although the original contract was a three year deal, McLaren have agreed to release him early, and speculation is now rampant on his next move.
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