Feature: Alonso's ongoing third title quest

Feature: Alonso's ongoing third title quest

16 March 2017 – Fernando Alonso enters 2017 as he did 2007 – a McLaren driver in search of his third F1 title. GPUpdate.net charts Alonso's near-misses, and other fruitless seasons, during his quest for that elusive crown.

2007 – Third, one point down


Alonso switched to McLaren from Renault, but there were fireworks early on with Lewis Hamilton, who emerged as a rookie sensation, backed by boss Ron Dennis. Alonso publicly fell out with McLaren by mid-season, a situation accentuated by the team's ongoing 'Spygate' saga, as matters turned acrimonious. Alonso still claimed four victories, but finished third in the standings, level with Hamilton, and a solitary point behind new champion Kimi Räikkönen, before returning to Renault.

2008 – Struggles, then wins, with Renault


Alonso returned to Enstone but the team struggled during the early stages of the campaign, as Alonso took just three points finishes from the opening seven events. Matters improved as the season wore on, with Alonso victorious in Singapore, albeit in controversial circumstances, when the full story of 'Crashgate' unravelled a year later. Alonso, ironically, then triumphed on merit in Japan and added a podium in Brazil to finish a credible fifth in the standings.

2009 – Renault's regression


Amid overhauled technical regulations, Renault floundered in 2009, leaving Alonso to scrap for points against some of his esteemed rivals, as Ferrari and McLaren also dropped the ball, with Brawn and Red Bull surging to the front. In the garishly-coloured R29, Alonso scored points in fewer than half of the Grands Prix, managing only one podium in Singapore, as he took ninth overall, though scored a low-fuel pole position in Hungary. Nevertheless, Alonso secured a seat at Ferrari for 2010, as the outfit ousted Räikkönen.

2010 – Back to the front


Alonso triumphed on his Ferrari debut in Bahrain as the F10 emerged as a contender, albeit still lacking downforce compared to Red Bull's RB6, with McLaren the third party in the fight. Following a mid-season dip, Alonso won in Germany, Italy, Singapore and Korea to head into the finale at the top of the standings. However, Ferrari responded to the threat posed by Mark Webber, pitted, and left Alonso stranded behind Vitaly Petrov, as Vettel claimed a surprise title with victory. Alonso finished runner-up, just four points behind Vettel, under the sport's revised scoring system.

2011 – Floundering Ferrari blunts hopes


As the potent combination of Vettel, Red Bull's RB7 and new Pirelli tyres stormed to the title, Ferrari was left scrapping for podiums, the team failing to grasp the exhaust blown diffuser. Alonso took 10 podiums over the course of the campaign, but only one win, notably at a damp Silverstone, when a ban on the exhaust blown diffusers was temporarily put in place. Alonso finished a distant fourth in the championship standings, as Vettel swept to his second title. 

2012 – From disaster to near-triumph


Ferrari lacked pace compared to its rivals early in the year but a series of dogged drives from Alonso kept him in contention, none more so than in Malaysia, where he took a shock win in wet weather. Alonso won in Valencia and Germany, opening a 40-point lead, but two retirements in Belgium and Japan cost him a hatful of points at a critical moment, as Vettel and Red Bull went on a winning spree. Alonso clung on in the fight with five straight podiums, but ultimately missed out during a chaotic wet finale in Brazil, losing to Vettel by only three points.

2013 – Victories, then Red Bull surges clear


Alonso triumphed in China and Spain, the latter via a brilliantly aggressive four-stop strategy, to sit in to contention for the crown. However, he dropped points through a lack of consistency before Vettel and Red Bull once more pulled clear, winning the final nine races on the bounce, ending Alonso's slim hopes of taking the title. Alonso finished runner-up to Vettel for the third time in four years, albeit by a sizeable margin in 2013.

2014 – Ferrari failure, before exit


Ferrari had hopes of profiting from the change to 1.6-litre V6 power units but instead it was Mercedes which moved clear, dominating the sport in a manner not seen since McLaren in 1988. Ferrari failed to grasp the rule changes as Alonso vented his frustration, while Ferrari underwent a management cull in response to the struggles. Alonso managed to take two podium finishes, leading until the final few laps in a wet/dry Hungary before a charging Daniel Ricciardo moved ahead.

2015 – McLaren at the back


Alonso, following years of near-misses at Ferrari, embarked on a new project with McLaren, as the team reunited with power unit supplier Honda. A mysterious test accident caused Alonso to miss the first race, but it made little difference, as year-long struggles with deployment left him and team-mate Jenson Button severely handicapped. Alonso managed points in only two races, the highlight a superb fifth in Hungary, as he slumped to 17th in the standings, his worst placement since 2001.

2016 – Returning to the top 10


McLaren-Honda delivered a step forward in 2016, though the most impressionable moment of Alonso's season came in Australia, where he dramatically rolled after clipping then Haas driver Esteban Gutiérrez. A couple of fifth places, in Monaco and the United States, were the high points, as he finished with nine top 10 finishes to place 10th overall in the standings, 10 years after his second world title.

2017 – Yet more frustration?


Honda has adopted a high-risk engine approach that may well pay dividends in the future. But right now, Alonso will head to the season-opening Australian Grand Prix facing another difficult start, lumbered with an uncompetitive and unreliable car. Already, the decade-long wait for a third title is facing a further extension…

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Thursday 23 March 2017

  2. 18:14

    Latest MotoGP photos: Thursday at Losail

    MotoGP
  3. 18:12

    Qatar Grand Prix: Full first practice results

    MotoGP
  4. Viñales comfortably clear in first practice 17:54

    Viñales comfortably clear in first practice

    Yamaha's new recruit Maverick Viñales built on his pre-season form as he romped clear of his rivals during the opening practice…

    MotoGP
  5. Video: Dan Fallows on Red Bull's RB13 16:06

    Video: Dan Fallows on Red Bull's RB13

    Red Bull Racing's Chief Aero Engineer Dan Fallows discusses Formula 1's 2017 regulation changes, which include wider tyres…

    F1
  6. Lowe: Williams can win as customer team 14:32

    Lowe: Williams can win as customer team

    Paddy Lowe, newly-signed Chief Technical Officer at Williams, is adamant that the team can win races and titles as a customer…

    F1
  7. Hamilton plays down Rosberg absence 12:22

    Hamilton plays down Rosberg absence

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says the absence of reigning World Champion and former team-mate Nico Rosberg on the grid this…

    F1
  8. Background: FIA drops 'Verstappen rule' 11:16

    Background: FIA drops 'Verstappen rule'

    FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting has outlined why Formula 1's so-called 'Verstappen rule', regarding moving under braking, has…

    F1
  9. FIA confident of protest-free season-opener 11:02

    FIA confident of protest-free season-opener

    Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, is confident that the Australian Grand Prix will not involve any protests over suspension…

    F1
  10. Lorenzo: Initial struggles were a 'shock' 10:42

    Lorenzo: Initial struggles were a 'shock'

    Jorge Lorenzo says his initial lack of pace upon his switch to Ducati came as a "shock", but is confident that he can continue…

    MotoGP
  11. 10:02

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday in Melbourne

    F1
  12. Force India's new livery breaks cover 09:49

    Force India's new livery breaks cover

    Force India's all-new matte pink livery has broken cover ahead of this weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix in…

    F1
  13. Video: Toro Rosso drivers in Casio time trial 08:02

    Video: Toro Rosso drivers in Casio time trial

    Toro Rosso drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniil Kvyat take part in a time trial with partner Casio at St. Kilda.

    F1
  14. GPUpdate readers back Vettel for victory 07:09

    GPUpdate readers back Vettel for victory

    GPUpdate.net readers have narrowly backed Sebastian Vettel to claim victory at this weekend's season-opening Australian Grand…

    F1
  15. Register for GPUpdate Manager 2017! 07:02

    Register for GPUpdate Manager 2017!

    Have you ever dreamed of owning a Formula 1 team with your ideal driver pairing and engine? GPUpdate.net readers can now sign up…

    F1
  16. Hamilton: Ferrari the favourite for 2017 05:13

    Hamilton: Ferrari the favourite for 2017

    Lewis Hamilton has reiterated his belief that Ferrari will be a genuine threat to Mercedes in 2017, going as far as to state…

    F1
  17. Pérez reveals post-Barcelona weight loss 04:43

    Pérez reveals post-Barcelona weight loss

    Sergio Pérez has revealed that he has lost around two to three kilos since the pre-season testing period in Barcelona, where…

    F1
  18. Nissany moves to RP Motorsport in 3.5 04:32

    Nissany moves to RP Motorsport in 3.5

    Roy Nissany has switched to RP Motorsport in World Series Formula V8 3.5, with Damiano Fioravanti in turn joining Barone…

    World Series
  19. Whiting: Cockpit protection call next month 03:41

    Whiting: Cockpit protection call next month

    F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting says a decision over whether extra cockpit protection – such as the halo – will be…

    F1
  20. Wehrlein officially cleared to race in Australia 03:23

    Wehrlein officially cleared to race in Australia

    Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein has been officially cleared to take part in this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, following…

    F1
  21. Video of the Day: Australian GP track guide 03:12

    Video of the Day: Australian GP track guide

    Force India's Sergio Pérez talks you through a lap of Albert Park, home to the Australian Grand Prix.

    F1
  22. Wednesday 22 March 2017

  23. Video: Rossi visor cam footage at Barber 19:02

    Video: Rossi visor cam footage at Barber

    Ride onboard with Andretti Herta Autosport driver Alexander Rossi at Barber Motorsports Park.

    Indy
  24. 17:02

    Follow GPUpdate on Instagram in 2017!

    F1
  25. Dovizioso hopes for Qatar victory challenge 16:24

    Dovizioso hopes for Qatar victory challenge

    Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso is optimistic that he can fight for victory at this weekend's season-opening race in Qatar…

    MotoGP
  26. Sainz Jr. optimistic of points-scoring start 14:44

    Sainz Jr. optimistic of points-scoring start

    Carlos Sainz Jr. is confident he can take a strong haul of points from this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, as he bids to…

    F1
  27. Feature: How did class of 2017 fare on debuts? 11:02

    Feature: How did class of 2017 fare on debuts?

    Williams driver Lance Stroll will be the only full rookie on the 2017 Formula 1 grid when the season begins with the Australian…

    F1
  28. Gelael set for Formula 1 test runs with STR 10:47

    Gelael set for Formula 1 test runs with STR

    Formula 2 racer Sean Gelael is to make his Formula 1 test debut with Toro Rosso in Bahrain next month, and is also set for…

    F1
  29. Vettel settles on 'Gina' for 2017 car name 09:39

    Vettel settles on 'Gina' for 2017 car name

    Sebastian Vettel has named his 2017 car, the SF70H, 'Gina', according to reports. Vettel, who made his Formula 1 debut with…

    F1
  30. Video: Red Bull's 'Dinghy Dash' in Melbourne 09:12

    Video: Red Bull's 'Dinghy Dash' in Melbourne

    Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen get set for the Australian GP by tearing up the Yarra River.

    F1
  31. Abiteboul confirms Renault ERS issue fixed 08:13

    Abiteboul confirms Renault ERS issue fixed

    Renault Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul says the manufacturer has addressed the Energy Recovery System (ERS) issue which…

    F1
  32. Koiranen absent from opening GP3 test 07:53

    Koiranen absent from opening GP3 test

    Koiranen GP will miss this week's opening GP3 test of the campaign at Estoril, amid doubts over the team's participation in the…

    GP3
  33. Márquez starting 2017 'better' than 2016 07:32

    Márquez starting 2017 'better' than 2016

    Marc Márquez reckons he and Honda are in a "better" position to tackle the upcoming MotoGP season, compared to 2016, as he…

    MotoGP
  34. 06:46

    Latest F1 photos: Wednesday in Melbourne

    F1
  35. Video of the Day: Melbourne from above 05:36

    Video of the Day: Melbourne from above

    Fly with the Royal Australian Air Force and see Melbourne's Albert Park Street Circuit from above...

    F1
  36. Tuesday 21 March 2017

  37. Overview: Melbourne's wild F1 moments 17:32

    Overview: Melbourne's wild F1 moments

    Melbourne has played host to many dramatic races since joining the F1 calendar back in 1996. Ahead of this weekend's…

    F1
  38. Injured Barberá wary of uphill challenge 14:48

    Injured Barberá wary of uphill challenge

    Avintia rider Héctor Barberá says he will not be at his "best level" due to injury when the MotoGP season begins in Qatar this…

    MotoGP
  39. Preview: Formula 1 prepares to enter new era 13:02

    Preview: Formula 1 prepares to enter new era

    Formula 1 will burst back into life, and embark on a new technical era, with this weekend's Australian Grand Prix. GPUpdate.net…

    F1
  40. FIA tweaks Thursday Press Conference format 11:54

    FIA tweaks Thursday Press Conference format

    The FIA has confirmed that it will implement tweaks for the Thursday Press Conference format in Formula 1 for the Australian…

    F1
  41. BMW among nine manufacturers for FE 11:47

    BMW among nine manufacturers for FE

    BMW is among the manufacturers that have been accepted by the FIA to provide powertrains in Formula E from 2018/19, the…

    FE
  42. Video: Michelin's MotoGP season preview 10:12

    Video: Michelin's MotoGP season preview

    MotoGP tyre supplier Michelin previews this weekend's season-opening event at Losail in Qatar.

    MotoGP
  43. 09:12

    Latest F1 photos: Tuesday in Melbourne

    F1
more news