The Spanish driver, once hailed as the messiah of F1 after breaking the Schumacher era of domination, has struggled with his professional decisions over a period of time. Ever since his departure from 2005-06 Champions Renault, Alonso has struggled to establish himself in an era of rising stars like Hamilton, Button and Vettel. He now seems destined to be the man that split the two German eras, unless he does something drastically brilliant in 2013.
Here are some facts about the 32 year old Ferrari driver:
-Alonso was World Carting Champion in 1996. He started carting at the age of 3. His father had built a cart for his older sister, who showed no interest in it till little ‘El Nano’ took a fancy to his new toy.
-Alonso’s first team was Minardi in 2001.
-Alonso was the youngest World Champion in 2005, and the youngest Double World Champion in 2006. He was also the youngest driver to win pole position as well as a race in 2003. ALL these records were later broken by Sebastian Vettel.
-Alonso joined McLaren in 2007 for a tumultuous one year relationship with then-debut driver Hamilton, after which he went back to Renault for 2009 and 2010. This is his 4th season with Ferrari. He has twice finished runner up in the championship.
-Alonso is an avid cyclist and football player. He is also a trick card fan, and a James Bond fan.
-In 2003, Renault Boss Briatore dropped Button for Alonso- who was already an established test driver for them. He finished his first year with them by placing 6th in the championship.
-In 2004, Alonso finished 4th in the Championship after teammate Trulli fell out with the team.
-In 2005, Alonso won his first World Championship at Brazil, and still describes it as the best race of his life.
-In 2007, after Alonso joined McLaren, he finished 3rd in a turbulent championship behind rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton (equal on points), one point behind eventual winner Raikkonen. This remains the closest 1-2-3 in F1 history.
-In 2008, he went back to Renault- and only won 2 races in the season at Singapore and Japan. He finished a disappointing 5th in the World Championship in his weaker car.
-2009 was Alonso’s worst season of his career, as he finished 9th in the standings, achieving only ONE podium place with Renault.
-Alonso achieved his childhood dream of racing for Ferrari in 2010, and won 5 races in a season that saw him finish agonizingly close to his first world championship since 2006.
-2011 saw Ferrari dip in performance, where Alonso won only 1 race in the season. He finished 4th.
-2012 saw Alonso once again push Vettel to the limit, achieving 13 podium places, out of which he won just 3 races.