March 4th 2001, a decade ago today was when Fernando Alonso began his career which has seen him win 2 world titles and 26 victories at the top of Formula 1.
On this day, the young Asturian driver just 19 years of age, finished twelfth in the Australia Grand Prix. It may not seem like much, but you should also take into consideration that he was driving a circuit which he did not know, he began in nineteenth position and in a car which he hadn’t driven before, which on top of that, was in poor condition due to a lack of funds and did not have the new components of other racing cars.
This demonstration of quality was noted by the Renault Team who signed him up quick smart. Two years later in Malaysia, he became the youngest driver to take a place on the winner’s podium. In August he got his first win at the Hungarian Gran Prix and in Spain a series of jokes sprung up in which people asked what he could achieve with a Ferrari, having been able to drive a Renault at over 200km/hour! (In Spain Renault has always had a reputation of being a modest, fairly normal car which is not particularly sporty.) Interestingly enough, it was after the world titles of 2005 and 2006 when he was considered to be the successor to the crown of Michael Schumacher – Ferrari’s top driver.
Unfortunately, there were also bad times, particularly in 2007 when his move to McLaren did not go as well as hoped. He returned to Renault the following year but his triumphs stayed behind, primed by the crisis in the economy, bad luck and disappointment and some people began to speak of “an idol with feet of clay”.
However, Alonso, undiscouraged went on to show that he was still a more than capable driver despite these difficulties. The Ferrari motor racing team saw this and in September of 2009 he was driving with them.
Right now Alonso is still giving it all his best, willing to earn new titles and achievements. Although for many he has already achieved so much, consider that Spain, a country where there has never been much interest in Formula 1, now keeps an eye on television screens every single time that Fernando Alonso is racing.
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