Born 29th July 1981 in Oviedo, Spain, Fernando discovered his love for driving at speed aged 3 when he inherited a kart his father had built for Fernando’s elder sister. The kart had to be altered to enable the tiny, young Fernando to reach the pedals but straight away his father saw potential in his son. At first, Fernando drove purely for fun but by the time he was 6 it was clear he was a better driver than other children his age. In June 1988, Fernando took part in his first junior kart race which he won. Fernando wound up the year by becoming regional junior champion, winning all 8 races he took part in.
In 1990 he won 2 different regional championships, this time driving at the next level up from juniors, cadets. By 1991, the costs associated with kart racing were becoming too high for the Alonso family and Fernando realised the only way he could continue racing would be to keep on winning and hope that somebody would recognise his talent and sponsor him.
He was given permission by the kart federation to race 100cc in 1992 despite not being old enough to compete at that level and then in 1993, after a impressive test, he was promoted to the Spanish championship, which he duely won! By the age of 13, Fernando was earning some money by acting as a kart mechanic for young children, which helped to fund his trips abroad to compete in the Italian Kart series. These long trips to and from Italy were always worked around school time.
By 1995 Fernando had stepped up the International kart championship and finished 3rd overall after securing his first podium finish in Portugal. 1996 saw him become International Junior World Champion and the winning streak continued into 1997 (Spanish & Italian champion) and 1998 (Spanish Inter A champion). 1998 brought Fernando’s first experience driving a racing car with gears and by his second day of testing the Formula Nissan, was matching the pole time set by the official race driver, Marc Gene.
The time racing in Formula Nissan was littered with pole positions and wins, culminating in the championship victory. All this lead up to Fernando’s first Formula 1 test at Jerez, which would see him setting the fastest time of the day. The next year was spent racing for Astromega in Formula 3000 with victory at Spa, widely acknowledged to be a true driver’s circuit. Midway through the season, a contract was signed to race for Minardi in Formula 1 in 2001.
It was a difficult Formula 1 debut with the smaller backmarkers but Fernando made the most of his machinery and easily outshone his team mate, Tarso Marques despite the latter having previous F1 experience. Fernando’s talents had not gone unnoticed within the F1 paddock, and he was soon snapped up by Renault boss Flavio Briatore for 2002. With 2 race drivers already under contract, Fernando was forced to sit out racing in 2002 but continued his F1 learning curve by acting as Renault’s official test driver for the season.
By 2003, Jenson Button had made way for Fernando to become a race driver for Renault and in Malaysia, he became the youngest ever pole sitter. Better was to come, for that summer, in Hungary Fernando outclassed the entire field and lead from start to finish to become the youngest ever F1 winner, even lapping multiple world champion Michael Schumacher in the process!
Big things were expected from Fernando in 2004 but due to one reason or another no further victories were recorded that year. He did however finish on the podium 4 times and secured 4th place in the championship ahead of his team mate, Jarno Trulli. 2005 saw Fernando hit the ground running with 3rd place in the season opener followed by 3 consecutive wins. With another 4 wins throughout the season, Fernando saw off the challenge from Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren to become F1’s youngest ever world champion with 2 races to spare.
Fernando came in to 2006 with Renault as reigning world champions and did not disappoint. He had scored 6 wins by mid season and a mature and consistent approach in the second part of the season saw him beat Michael Schumacher and secure his 2nd world championship, beating Schumacher’s youngest double champion accolade in the process.
2007, saw a difficult time for Fernando as he joined McLaren. He scored 2 early season wins but from then on it became apparent that all was not well within the team. Fernando felt he was being disadvantaged by the team blatantly favouring their other driver Lewis Hamilton. He still secured a further 2 wins and kept the championship battle alive right to the wire, where he was just pipped to the title by Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari. He finished equal second in the championship, 1 point behind the Finn.
The McLaren contract was brought to a close 2 years early and Fernando returned to Renault for 2008. The team were no longer the force they had been previously but Fernando courageously battled on scoring consistent points finishes and back to back wins later in the season. Having amassed the highest point’s tally of anyone during the second part of the season, Fernando finished 5th overall with 61 points. During 2009, Renault were a shadow of themselves during the glory years of 2005 & 2006 but to his great credit, Fernando showed his true fighting spirit by never giving up despite their being no chance of fighting for victories. He was a consistent point’s finisher and wound up the championship in 9th place.
Alonso joined Ferrari in 2010 and immediately made his mark by winning the opening Grand Prix of the season, he would take the challenge to the much quicker Red Bull's throughout the season and went into the final race ahead on points, but poor strategy cost him dearly and the title slipped though his fingers as Vettel claimed the ultimate prize. However Alonso could be delighted with his debut season with the Maranello team. The team orders issue in the German GP will probably never go away as well as him rudely barging past Massa in the pitlane at China but it once again showed that Alonso has a desire to win no matter who's toes he steps on, it's a desire that many fans love to see and Fernando will be hoping 2011 brings his 3rd title.
Profile thank to - Mrs Alonso