Previous F1 Teams:
- 2001 Minardi
- 2003 - 2006 Renault
- 2007 McLaren
- 2008-2009 Renault
- 2010- Ferrari
Fernando, like most of the other Formula 1 drivers, began racing go karts while still a child. In fact, his first race was at age 3. He won several national and local Spanish championships and in 1996 he won the world junior karting championship. He began racing cars at 18, winning his first championship, the Euro-Open Nissan series, where he won six races. He joined the Formula 3000 series in 2000, where he finished fourth, winning at Spa-Francorchamps.
His Career Thus Far:
With only two seasons of car racing behind him before he joined Formula 1 in 2001 at the age of 19, Fernando had shown very little reason to outsiders to merit the praise of his manager, Flavio Briatore, the man who had hired Michael Schumacher at Benetton in 1991 when he was an unknown. Early on, Briatore would compare Fernando to the German driver.
After a year learning the ropes at Minardi, Fernando joined Renault in 2002 for a sabbatical from racing as a test driver. During this year he developed his technical knowledge and his rapport with the team. The result was that in 2003 when he became a full-time driver at Renault, he was a fully-fledged and experienced F1 racer. At the Hungarian Grand Prix in August he won his first race, becoming the youngest ever Formula 1 race winner at 22 years and 27 days old.
Fernando finished the series in sixth position in 2003, in fourth position in 2004, and then won it the following two years, becoming the sport's youngest world champion in 2005. After that first title, he announced he would join McLaren in 2007. McLaren finished second in the series in 2005. But in 2006 McLaren failed to win a single race for the first time since 1996, and Alonso became the youngest double world champion in history, winning with Renault.
Fernando has a smooth driving style marked by the intelligence of both his technical approach and in dealing with traffic and other competitors. On the track he keeps his head under pressure, rarely cracking or making a mistake when it is vital to hold position.
When he moved to the McLaren team in 2007, Fernando exposed another side to his character. He found himself racing against the greatest rookie driver in F1 history: Lewis Hamilton. The two drivers were involved in controversies as the season unfolded. At the Hungarian Grand Prix Fernando blocked Lewis during qualifying, causing the British driver to lose his last qualifying lap and pole position. Fernando was then penalized for this, and Lewis was awarded pole. Fernando was then involved in presenting emails he had received related to the summer long spy scandal, which eventually resulted in McLaren being eliminated from the championship. Although the Spanish fans remained loyal to their driver, many other fans considered that Fernando had shown previously unsuspected weaknesses in his character. Fernando left McLaren and rejoined Renault for 2008, where he amazed even himself by winning two races, and set the stage for a comeback in 2009.