Fernando Alonso


Fernando Alonso

Infobox F1 driver
Name = Fernando Alonso



Caption = Alonso at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix
Nationality = flagicon|ESP Spanish
Car number = 5
birth_date = birth date and age|1981|07|29
birth_place = flagicon|ESPOviedo Spain
Team = Renault
Team for 2008 = ING Renault F1
Races = 120 (119 starts)
Championships = 2 (2005, 2006)
Wins = 20
Podiums = 50
Poles = 17
Fastest laps = 11
First race = 2001 Australian Grand Prix
First win = 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix
Last win = 2008 Singapore Grand Prix
Last race = 2008 Singapore Grand Prix
Last season = 2007
Last position = 3rd (109 pts)
Points = 528

Fernando Alonso Díaz (born July 29, 1981 in Oviedo, Spain) is a Spanish Formula One racing driver and a two-time World Champion.

On September 25 2005 he won the World Driver's Championship title at the age of 24 years and 58 days, thus breaking Emerson Fittipaldi's record of being the youngest F1 Champion. After retaining the title the following year, Alonso also became the youngest double Champion. In 2007, he became the second F1 driver, after Michael Schumacher, to score at least 100 points for three consecutive seasons. Nicknamed _es. "El Nano", Alonso acts as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF [ cite web | title = _es. La Nueva España :: Galería | publisher = _es. La Nueva España | date = 2006 | accessdate = 2007-01-17 | url = http://mas.lne.es/galeria/galeria.php?foto=2958 ] and is one of the directors of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association.

Personal and early life

Fernando Alonso was born in Oviedo, Asturias in northern Spain. His mother worked in a department store and his father was employed as a mechanic in an explosives factory near Oviedo.cite news | last = Urruty | first = Martín | title = _es. De plebeyo a rey. Cómo llegó Alonso a ser el campeón más joven de la historia | language = Spanish | publisher = _es. ESPNdeportes | date = 2005-11-26 | url = http://espndeportes.espn.go.com/news/story?id=367490 | accessdate = 2007-07-30 ] Alonso has an older sister, Lorena. Alonso's father José Luis, an amateur kart racer, wanted to pass on his passion to his children. He built a kart, originally meant for eight-year-old Lorena, but unlike her three-year-old brother, she showed no interest in the sport.

Alonso is rumoured to be married to Raquel del Rosario, lead singer of Spanish pop band _es. El Sueño de Morfeo. [ cite web | url = http://www.formula1.com/gallery/other/2007/202.html | title = 2007 FIA Gala Awards Gallery | publisher = The Official Formula 1 Website | accessdate = 2007-12-16 ] The two apparently married in November 2006. [cite news| title = The girls in pole position| work = Mail on Sunday| publisher = Associated Newspapers| page = 34| date = 2007-02-25| accessdate =2007-04-08]

He currently lives in Oxford, England, and owns a house in Mont-sur-Rolle, near Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

Pre-Formula One

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. He won the Spanish and Italian Inter-A titles in 1997 and in 1998 won the Spanish Inter-A title again as well as finishing second in the European Championship.

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. [cite web |url=http://www.f1db.com/f1/page/Fernando_Alonso |title=Fernando Alonso |accessdate=2007-09-13 |publisher=f1db.com] Campos signed Alonso to race for him in the 1999 Spanish Euro Open MoviStar by Nissan series. cite web | title = Who's Who: Fernando Alonso | publisher = F1Fanatic.co.uk | year = 2006 | url = http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/f1-information/whos-who/whos-who-a/fernando-alonso/ | accessdate =2006-01-07] In his second race, again at Albacete, Alonso won for the first time. He took the championship by one point from championship rival Manuel Giao by winning and setting fastest lap at the last race of the season. 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 didn't 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.

Formula One

2001: Minardi

Alonso was the third-youngest driver ever to start a F1 race when he made his debut with Minardi at the 2001 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, at his first race he out-qualified team mate Tarso Marques by 2.6s. At the fourth round at Imola he outqualified both of the Benettons, a feat he repeated later in the season.

Notable performances over the 2001 season had 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 the Spaniard although he was facing competition for the seat from Felipe Massa and then Jaguar test driver Andre Lotterer. [cite news|title=Sauber chasing Alonso |url=http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns04843.html |publisher=GrandPrix.com |date=2001-09-11 |accessdate=2007-06-05 ] A month later it was confirmed that Massa was going to take the vacant Sauber seat for 2002. [cite news |title=Sauber confirms Massa |url=http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns04979.html |publisher=GrandPrix.com |date=2001-10-12 |accessdate=2007-06-05 ]

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 a full-time test driver for 2002. At the final round of 2001 at Suzuka he finished eleventh — five places outside the points but ahead, on merit, of Heinz-Harald Frentzen’s Prost (with a Ferrari engine), the BAR-Honda of Olivier Panis, the two Arrows and Alex Yoong (his new team mate). Four years later, his team boss from the Minardi days, Paul Stoddart, described his race as "53 laps of qualifying". [cite journal |last=Cooper |first=Steve |year=2007 |month=September |title=The hunter becomes the haunted |journal=Autosport |volume=189 |issue=10 |pages=p.39] He scored no points in the season.

2002–2006: Renault

2002–2003

Alonso became test driver for Renault in 2002 (Renault having taken over the Benetton team) and did 1,642 laps of testing that year. In 2003 Briatore dropped Button and put Alonso in the second seat alongside Jarno Trulli.

The Spaniard became the youngest driver to achieve a Formula One pole position at the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix. Alonso had a 180mph crash at the 2003 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. [cite news| title =Fernando Alonso in for a ticking off| publisher =grandprix.com| url =http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns11011.html| date =2003-04-16| accessdate =2007-09-13] 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 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix. He finished the year sixth in the championship, with 55 points and four podiums.

2004

Alonso remained with Renault for the 2004 season. In the early part of 2004 questions were asked of Alonso when he was generally out-qualified by teammate Jarno Trulli. However towards the end of the year Trulli's performance 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. Alonso ended the year fourth in the championship standings, scoring 59 points and four podiums.

2005

For the f1|2005 season, Alonso was joined at Renault by highly rated 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' it 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 a second behind Montoya. McLaren's poor reliability granted another win to Alonso at the German Grand Prix when Kimi Räikkönen's car suffered hydraulic failure.

He qualified 6th 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 5-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 Constructor’s Championship for the Renault F1 team.

In 2005, he was awarded with the Sports Prince of Asturias Award. [ cite web | url = http://www.fundacionprincipedeasturias.org/ing/04/premiados/trayectorias/trayectoria805.html | title = Fernando Alonso | publisher = The Price of Asturias Foundation | year = 2005 | accessdate = 2007-01-17 ]

2006

Alonso won the first race of the 2006 Formula One season at Bahrain, overtaking Michael Schumacher after coming out of the pit lane with 18 laps left, after starting fourth. He qualified seventh at the Malaysian Grand Prix due to a fuelling error [ cite web | url = http://www.formula1.com/race/news/4125/752.html | title = Qualifying — selected driver quotes | publisher = The Official Formula 1 Website | date = 2006-03-18 | accessdate = 2007-01-22 ] [ cite web | url = http://www.formula1.com/race/news/4133/752.html | title = Malaysian Grand Prix — selected driver quotes | publisher = The Official Formula 1 Website | date = 2006-03-19 | accessdate = 2007-01-22 ] but finished second to team mate Giancarlo Fisichella. He won the Australian Grand Prix after overtaking leader Jenson Button's Honda.

After poor qualifying at San Marino, Alonso was unable to pass Michael Schumacher in an encounter that echoed their battle the previous year. Schumacher beat Alonso again in the European Grand Prix after the Spaniard started on pole. But Alonso hit back, becoming the first Spaniard to win his home race on May 14, 2006 in the Spanish Grand Prix.

He took pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix after Schumacher was penalised by the stewards for "deliberately [stopping] his car on the circuit in the last few minutes of qualifying", denying his rivals, Alonso included, the opportunity of recording fastest qualifying lap. [ cite web | title = Schumacher is stripped of pole | publisher = The Official Formula 1 Website | year = 2006 | accessdate = 2007-01-17 | url = http://www.formula1.com/race/news/4430/757.html ] Alonso won the race.

He extended his winning streak to four races with victories in Britain and Canada. Both wins came from pole position, and the British round was his first win, pole and fastest lap treble.

Schumacher's fight back began at Indianapolis where the German won and Alonso was fifth. Schumacher won the French Grand Prix, with Alonso in second, and the Spaniard was fifth in the German Grand Prix. [ cite web | url = http://www.formula1.com/race/news/4725/762.html | title = Renault on the ropes after Hockenheim? | publisher = The Official Formula 1 Website | date = 2006-07-30 | accessdate = 2007-01-22 ] That cut Alonso's championship lead to 11 points.

Alonso incurred a penalty for an infraction in practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix which left him 15th on the grid. Schumacher started 11th after receiving a similar penalty. [ cite web | title = Räikkonen steals pole in Hungary | publisher = The Official Formula 1 Website | url = http://www.formula1.com/race/news/4768/763.html | year = 2006 | accessdate = 2007-01-17 ] Alonso looked set for an unlikely win as he overtook most of the field, including Schumacher around the outside of turn five, as he showed prowess in the wet conditions. But he crashed out of the race when a wheel nut fell off his car following a pit stop. Schumacher scored one point after Robert Kubica was disqualified. [ cite web | url = http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2006/08/06/hungarian-grand-prix-2006-review/ | title = Hungarian Grand Prix 2006 review | publisher = F1Fanatic.co.uk | date = 2006-08-06 | accessdate = 2007-08-15 ]

Alonso finished second in Turkey, holding back third-placed Schumacher to claim two vital points. But he lost a lot of ground after a controversial Italian Grand Prix. He suffered a puncture during qualifying that damaged bodywork at the back of his car. He qualified fifth but was later punished by the stewards for impeding Felipe Massa's Ferrari, [ cite web | title = Alonso punished for blocking Massa | publisher = The Official Formula 1 Website | year = 2006 | accessdate = 2007-01-17 | url = http://www.formula1.com/race/news/4923/765.html ] and he started the race from the 10th position. In the race he rose to third place before an engine failure forced him to withdraw. Schumacher won the Grand Prix and cut Alonso's Championship lead to two points.

At the following round in China, Alonso took pole position during a wet qualifying session but finished second to Schumacher in the race. The result tied Alonso and Schumacher on points in the drivers championship.

At the Japanese Grand Prix, the Ferraris of Schumacher and Massa qualified first and second, more than half a second faster than the Renaults in fifth and sixth. But during the race Alonso rose to second and took the win after Schumacher's engine failed. It gave him a ten point advantage over Schumacher, needing only one point from the final round to retain the title.

Second place in the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 22 gave Alonso the championship. With Schumacher finishing fourth, the final difference was 13 points. Alonso thus became the youngest double champion in the sport's history. Renault also clinched the Constructors' Championship with a 5-point gap over Ferrari.

2007: McLaren

On December 19, 2005, Fernando Alonso announced that he would be moving to McLaren for 2007. [ cite web | title = Alonso in shock move to McLaren | publisher = The Official Formula 1 Website | year = 2005 | accessdate = 2007-01-17 | url = http://www.formula1.com/news/3888.html ] His contract with Renault was set to expire on December 31, 2006 However, on December 15, 2006, Alonso was allowed by Flavio Briatore and the Renault F1 Team to test for one day for McLaren in the Jerez circuit, as a result of his successes with Renault. Driving an unbranded MP4-21 and wearing a plain white helmet and overalls, Alonso completed 95 laps. [ cite web | title = Jerez day four — Hamilton on form in Spain | publisher = The Official Formula 1 Website | year = 2006 | accessdate = 2007-01-17 | url = http://www.formula1.com/news/5422.html ] Lewis Hamilton was chosen as his partner for the season. McLaren were reported to be paying Alonso £ 20 million (approx $ 39 million c. 2007) in 2007. Alonso debuted with the new McLaren car on January 15, 2007, in the streets of Valencia.

On 8 April 2007 in his second race for the team, Alonso secured his first win for McLaren, and the team's first since 2005 with a commanding drive at Sepang. A difficult drive at Bahrain's Sakhir circuit on 15 April, saw him finishing 5th behind his rookie team mate who took a podium finish. In the fourth race of the year in Spain, his home grand prix, he qualified second. He had a first lap collision with Felipe Massa which caused some damage to his car and dropped him to fourth. He finished the race third. On May 27, Alonso secured his second victory for McLaren at Monaco, scoring pole position, fastest lap and the race win and in the process lapping the entire field up to 3rd position. At the Nürburgring he took his third win of the year in a dramatic race affected by intermittent rain showers, overtaking Ferrari's Felipe Massa for the lead with just four laps remaining. After the controversy at the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix (see below), however, relations between Alonso and his team declined. It was reported in the media that he was no longer on speaking terms with Hamilton, [cite news| title =Hungarian GP — Alonso not speaking to Hamilton| publisher =uk.eurosport.yahoo.com| url =http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/06082007/58/hungarian-gp-alonso-speaking-hamilton.html| date =2007-08-06| accessdate =2007-08-06] and it was speculated that he may leave McLaren at the end of the season. [cite news| title =Alonso's future at McLaren in doubt| publisher =autosport.com| url =http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/61422| date =2007-08-06| accessdate =2007-08-06] On 7 August 2007 "The Times" reported that McLaren would let Alonso leave the team at the end of the season if he wished, two years earlier than his contract allowed. [cite news |first= Edward | last=Gorman| title =McLaren may lose Alonso if he cannot work with Hamilton| work= The Times| publisher =Times Newspapers| url = http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article2211563.ece| date =2007-08-07| accessdate =2007-08-07] .

As part of the espionage controversy between McLaren and Ferrari, the former were found guilty of breaching the Article 151c of the FIA's sporting regulations but went unpunished due to a lack of evidence. However, following the acquisition of new evidence by the FIA, a new hearing was held on September 13. The new evidence consisted largely of email traffic between Alonso and test driver Pedro de la Rosa. [cite news| title =Letter confirms drivers had new evidence | publisher =autosport.com| url =http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/62097| date =2007-09-07| accessdate =2007-09-07] The FIA's World Motor Sport Council report following the hearing stated that Alonso and de la Rosa had obtained and used confidential Ferrari technical data and sporting strategy information from senior McLaren engineer Mike Coughlan via Ferrari employee Nigel Stepney, including during test sessions. Both drivers were spared sanctions in exchange for providing evidence.

On 2 November 2007, after a turbulent year with McLaren, it was announced that McLaren and Alonso had mutually agreed to terminate his contract and that he would be free to join any team for 2008 without paying McLaren any compensation. [cite news |url = http://www.mclaren.co.uk/mediaroom/information/pressreleases/alonso_release.php |title = Alonso Press Release |publisher = Vodafone McLaren Mercedes |date = 2007-11-02 |accessdate= 2007-11-02]

2008: Return to Renault

Alonso was linked with several teams for the 2008 season after his split with McLaren. Renault, Red Bull, Toyota and Honda were all suggested in the media. Renault's Flavio Briatore stated that he would welcome Alonso's return to the French team. On 10 December 2007, Alonso signed a two-year contract to drive for Renault F1 alongside Brazilian driver Nelson Angelo Piquet for around £25 million. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2007/12/10/umsport110.xml Fernando Alonso to re-sign for Renault] www.telegraph.co.uk Retrieved 10 December 2007] [ [http://f1.gpupdate.net/en/news/2007/12/10/renault-confirms-2008-driver-line-up-alonso-and-piquet/ Renault confirms 2008 driver line-up Alonso and Piquet] http://f1.gpupdate.net/en/ Retrieved 10 December 2007]

In the first two rounds of the 2008 Season, Alonso was not as competitive as he was used to being. He has come 4th and 8th in Australia and Malaysia respectively. After these two races, there were rumours that he could replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari in 2009, especially in light of the general belief that there is an "out clause" in Fernando Alonso's contract with Renault which would give him the freedom to move to another team for the next season should he be able to secure a deal. However Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo stated that Massa's seat in the team is secured and will stay that way until the end of his contract in 2010.Fact|date=April 2008 Kimi Räikkönen has also been given a two-year contract extension to partner Massa until the end of 2010 [cite web | title = Ferrari confirm Raikkonen to end of 2010 | publisher = Formula1.com | date = 2008-09-12 | url = http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/9/8365.html | accessdate = 2008-09-14] , essentially closing the door on Alonso for a possible move to Ferrari. Alonso too has denied this "out clause" rumour in 2008.

On 6 April 2008, in the 2008 Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton ran into the back of Alonso's Renault, heavily damaging the rear wing of the Spaniard's car, as well as his own nosecone. Stewards did not seek to investigate the incident but critics alleged he braked (or didn't accelerate as expected) in front of Lewis Hamilton causing Hamilton to crash into him [cite web | title = Massa wins as Ferrari dominates in desert | publisher = ITV | date = 2008-04-06 | url = http://www.itv-f1.com/news_article.aspx?id=42246 | accessdate = 2008-04-06] . Telemetric data from Alonso's car proved these accusations to be wrong [cite web | title = Renault rubbish 'brake test' suggestions | publisher = Autosport | date = 2008-04-06 | url = http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/66448 | accessdate = 2008-04-06] . Hamilton himself stated "I was behind him, and I moved to the right, and he moved to the right and that was it - a racing incident I guess" [cite web | title = Bahrain Grand Prix - selected driver quotes | publisher = Formula1.com | date = 2008-04-06 | url = http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2008/4/7608.html | accessdate = 2008-04-06] . It was later revealed by McLaren that Hamilton's front wing, which was damaged when he hit Alonso earlier in the race, had broken seconds before the impact and has been identified as the cause of the crash. Alonso started the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix with promising pace, qualifying on the front row in second place behind Kimi Räikkönen. Alonso was running in a solid fifth place when the Renault engine blew up with 31 laps to go in the 66 lap race.

Alonso qualified 7th for the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix. He ran fourth early in the race, but dropped to 10th at the finish after two incidents - puncturing a tyre against the barrier and a collision with Nick Heidfeld.

In the Canadian Grand Prix Alonso qualified a promising fourth and was keeping up with the pace of the BMWs, who would eventually go on to record their maiden win with Robert Kubica after pitlane dramas plagued both Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes. However, with a heavy Heidfeld in front of him and the rest of the field having pitted for their final stops, Alonso was faced with having to pass Heidfeld or risk finishing outside the points entirely. On lap 45 Alonso put a wheel off-line, onto the marbles, which made him spin and crash into the wall at turn two.

In the European Grand Prix (Valencia, Spain), Alonso performed strongly in all three practice sessions and the first round of qualifying. However, he failed to make it through the second round of qualifying. During the opening lap of the race, Alonso was hit by Kazuki Nakajima in the rear wing of his R28 and sustained damage to his gearbox. His mechanics were unable to repair the problem and he was forced to retire from the race.

In the Belgian Grand Prix Alonso qualified sixth and ran in the top five for most of the race. When heavy rain fell towards the end of the race, he gambled on pitting for wet tyres with one lap to go. This dropped him from 4th to 8th, but a fast final lap saw him climb back to fourth - passing Kubica and Sebastien Vettel at the final corner.

In the Italian Grand Prix Alonso qualified eight but managed to climb four places and finished fourth in the race. This was the second consecutive fourth place after the Belgian Grand Prix. Fourth place was the best result for Alonso in 2008 until his victory at Singapore.

Alonso claimed his first victory and podium of the season by winning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. After performing strongly in practice, a fuel pressure problem in the second part of qualifying forced him to park the car, causing him to qualify 15th. In the race he started with a light fuel load on soft tyres, and pitted early when he realised that this would not be successful. However, a safety car period (caused by Piquet crashing) meant that he moved ahead of many drivers who had to pit, and allowed him to ultimately win the race. This was also his 50th podium and 20th win in his career.

Alonso carried over his good form from Singapore to the next race, the Japanese Grand Prix. Alonso was good in both practices and qualified 4th.. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7664875.stm Japanese Grand Prix] "BBC Sport" Retrieved 11 October 2008]

Records and achievements

* Youngest World Champion: 24 years, 59 days in F1|2005
* Youngest double World Champion: 25 years, 85 days in F1|2006
* Youngest driver and least number of races to score 500 points at the 2008 French Grand Prix

* Second youngest driver to start from pole position: 21 years, 237 days at the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix (behind Sebastian Vettel: 21 years 74 days)

* Second youngest driver to score a podium finish: 21 years, 237 days at the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix (behind Sebastian Vettel: 21 years 74 days)

* Second youngest winner: 22 years, 26 days at the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix (behind Sebastian Vettel: 21 years 74 days)
* Second youngest driver to set fastest l
Nico Rosberg: 20 years, 258 days)

* Second driver (after Michael Schumacher) to score 100 or more points for three consecutive seasons (in 2005, 2006 and 2007)

* Second highest number of podium positions in a season: 15 in 2005 (behind Michael Schumacher: 17 in 2002)

* Second highest number of consecutive podium positions: 15 in 2005-2006 (behind Michael Schumacher: 19 in 2001-2002)

* Third youngest driver to start from the front row of the grid: 21 years, 237 days at the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix (behind Ricardo Rodríguez: 19 years, 208 days)

* Third highest points total in one season: 134 in 2006 (behind Michael Schumacher: 148 in 2004 and 144 in 2002)

* Third youngest to start a race at 19 years, 218 days at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix (behind Mike Thackwell: 19 years, 182 days and Ricardo Rodríguez: 19 years, 208 days)

* Winner of the first F1 GP held at night (2008 Singapore Grand Prix).

* Winner of the 800th Grand Prix (2008 Singapore Grand Prix).

Controversies

* At the 2003 European Grand Prix, David Coulthard and McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh accused Alonso of giving Coulthard a brake test. [cite news |url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/motorsport/formula_one/3030542.stm |title = Coulthard blames Alonso |publisher = BBC Sport |date = 2003-06-29 |accessdate = 2007-01-16]
* At the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix, Alonso was involved in an incident in which he brake tested Red Bull Racing test driver Robert Doornbos in the second free practice session. The Stewards decided that Alonso’s actions were “unnecessary, unacceptable and dangerous”, and awarded him a one second time penalty to be applied to his fastest lap time in each of the qualifying sessions.cite news |url = http://www.formula1.com/race/news/4761/763.html |title = Alonso receives qualifying penalties |publisher = The Official Formula 1 Website |date = 2006-08-04 |accessdate = 2007-01-16]
* After a separate incident from the same race, when Michael Schumacher was asked whether he thought Alonso slowed down on purpose so that Schumacher had to pass him under red flags in practice Schumacher replied, "You said that, I didn't." [cite news |url = http://www.f1racing.net/en/news/2006/08/05/schumi_hints_at_foul_play/ |title = Schumi hints at foul play |publisher = F1racing.net |date = 2006-08-05 |accessdate = 2007-01-16]
* In the 2006 Italian Grand Prix, after stewards ruled Alonso had potentially blocked Felipe Massa in Saturday qualifying and relegated him five places on the starting grid, Alonso stated "I love the sport, love the fans coming here — a lot of them from Spain but I don't consider Formula One like a sport any more".cite news |url = http://www.f1racing.net/en/news/2006/09/10/fuming_alonso_says_f1_is_no_longer_a_sport/ |title = Fuming Alonso says F1 is no longer a sport |publisher = F1racing.net |date = 2006-09-10 |accessdate = 2007-01-16]
* During the aftermath of the 2007 European Grand Prix Alonso accused Felipe Massa of trying to hit him off the track when he passed him around the outside of turn 5 in the wet. The two had a row in front of the cameras immediately before the podium proceedings. [http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=XWRvhA0YPgY&feature=related] Alonso and Massa later apologised.
* In the qualifying for the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix, while both McLarens were in the pits, Alonso remained stationary in the McLaren pit for a few seconds. This delayed the then provisional pole sitter (and his team mate), Lewis Hamilton long enough to prevent him from getting another 'hot lap' in. Alonso then went on to claim pole. [cite news| title =Hungarian Grand Prix 2007 — Qualifying| publisher =news.bbc.co.uk| url =http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/6929333.stm| date = 2007-08-05 | accessdate =2007-08-06] McLaren boss Ron Dennis later said the team had got "out of sequence" when Hamilton did not as agreed allow Alonso past earlier in the qualifying session. He added that Alonso was "under the control of his engineer" when he was waiting in the pit lane. [cite news| title =Dennis: Hamilton triggered incident| publisher =autosport.com| url =http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/61368| date = 2007-08-04| accessdate =2007-08-06] However, Alonso was subsequently given a five-place grid penalty [cite news| title =Alonso demoted to sixth in Hungary | publisher =autosport.com| url =http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/61370| date =2007-08-04| accessdate =2007-08-04] and his McLaren team were docked the 15 constructors' World Championship points they would have earned in the race. [cite web | title = Alonso punished for Hamilton move | publisher = British Broadcasting Corp. | date = 2007-08-04 | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/6929333.stm | accessdate =2007-08-04]
* As result of this investigation, it emerged that some people within McLaren, among them Alonso, were aware of confidential information belonging to the Ferrari team. This information was commented on to Alonso by McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa who had also received information from McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan. The email contained text suggesting that Alonso was surprised by the data and doubted its authenticity. According to the "spygate" related email exchanges between Alonso and de la Rosa, it was clear that Alonso knew about Ferrari's pit strategies in the Australian Grand Prix and Bahrain Grand Prix. Alonso finished 2nd and 5th respectively in those races. [Citation | last = | first = | author-link = Autosport | title = Dennis tipped off FIA about evidence | date = 2007-09-14 | year = 2007 | url = http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/62376 | accessdate = 2007-09-20 ] Ron Dennis told FIA about the case during the Hungaroring GP after alleging that Alonso threatened him to report the team to FIA himself if he wasn't given number one status within the McLaren team, while Alonso declared that false and asked FIA to show evidence of his innocence; FIA then revealed that it had had knowledge of the case thanks to a slip made by Coughlan. [Citation | last = Elizalde| first = Pablo| author-link = Autosport | title = Transcript highlights Dennis/Alonso row | date = 2007-09-19 | year = 2007 | url = http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/62548 | accessdate = 2007-09-20 ]

Racing record

Career summary

:"* Season in Progress

Complete Formula One results

() (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in "italics" indicate fastest lap)* Season in progress

See also

* List of Formula One drivers
* List of Spaniards
* Alonsomania

References

External links

* [http://www.fernandoalonso.com/ The official site for Fernando Alonso]


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