Fernando Alonso

Alonso portrait#14 | Fernando Alonso | Scuderia Ferrari

Date of Birth: 29/07/1981 | Nationality: Spanish | Twitter: @alo_oficial


Alonso made his debut as a teenager in 2001 with Minardi but impressed with his ability in difficult machinery. The Spaniard's high point came at the final round of the year in Japan, where he finished in 11th place after "53 laps of qualifying," according to team principal Paul Stoddart.

He spent a year out of racing as Renault's test driver but was promoted in 2003 to race alongside Jarno Trulli. He claimed his maiden pole position in Malaysia and followed it up with victory a few rounds later in Hungary. For 2004, he remained with Renault and took a further pole position and another four podiums.

It was in 2005 when Alonso stepped up a notch as armed with a competitive Renault he built up a huge championship lead with three wins in the first four races and added another four wins to claim his first world title with two rounds remaining. He finished outside of the points just twice all year and held the advantage over McLaren, who were frequently faster but not as reliable.

He entered 2006 therefore as the reigning champion and this time his challenge came not from McLaren but from a rejuvenated Ferrari team. He swept to six wins and three second places across the opening nine races but his challenge stuttered due to enforced changes to his Renault R26 and Michael Schumacher finding form. This culminated in his famous "F1 is no longer a sport" speech following a qualifying penalty in Italy. He battled tooth and nail with Schumacher across the final few rounds and reaped the rewards of an engine failure for the German to win in Japan and clinch the crown at the final race in Brazil.

He moved to McLaren for 2007 but his season ended in an acrimonious break-up. Alonso fell out with team boss Ron Dennis over not receiving preferential treatment and became involved in the Spygate scandal, which resulted in McLaren's expulsion from the constructors' championship. Alonso made uncharacteristic errors but nonetheless took four victories on his way to third in the championship, just a point behind new champion Kimi Raikkonen.

He returned to Renault for two seasons and made the most of uncompetitive machinery. After a messy first half to 2008, he claimed victory in a controversial Singapore Grand Prix and followed it up with another win in Japan. The 2009 Renault was even less competitive and he finished on the podium just once, in Singapore.

He moved to Ferrari for 2010 and won the opening round in Bahrain, before a sequence of troublesome races. He bounced back, beginning with a controversial win in Germany when team-mate Felipe Massa was allegedly ordered to cede position. Alonso went on to claim three more wins but fell shy of claiming the title after a strategic error in Abu Dhabi.

The Ferrari F150 Italia struggled for downforce which left Alonso helpless in 2011, although he did claim a victory in Britain. The F2012 was not much of an improvement, but Alonso defied expectations to claim three sensational wins and opened up a points lead. However, while the car improved, so did Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull. Alonso continued to finish on the podium but ultimately fell just three points shy of usurping Vettel. Alonso took two wins early on in 2013 but slipped back from championship contention once Vettel kicked into gear. He still finished as the runner-up, but he was over 150 points down on his rival.