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. Monday 25 September 2017

  2. 17:02

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  3. Video: McLaren speakers in race liveries 16:40

    Video: McLaren speakers in race liveries

    McLaren paired up with Logitech's Ultimate Ears to create a set of ultra-exclusive speakers, inspired by the team's liveries…

    F1
  4. Williams confirms it is evaluating Kubica 15:13

    Williams confirms it is evaluating Kubica

    Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica is one of the drivers it is evaluating for a race seat in 2018, as the Pole continues…

    F1
  5. Honda clears Alonso's Singapore PU for use 13:26

    Honda clears Alonso's Singapore PU for use

    Fernando Alonso will be able to re-use the power unit that was fitted to his car for the Singapore Grand Prix, where he got…

    F1
  6. Dovizioso laments 'complicated' weekend 12:27

    Dovizioso laments 'complicated' weekend

    Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso was left to rue a "complicated" Aragón Grand Prix weekend as he fell 16 points behind Honda rival…

    MotoGP
  7. Mercedes has focused on 'painful' moments 11:39

    Mercedes has focused on 'painful' moments

    Toto Wolff says Mercedes has focused on the "painful" moments of the Singapore Grand Prix in a bid to boost its prospects over…

    F1
  8. Video: Biggest crashes of WRC season 10:45

    Video: Biggest crashes of WRC season

    Watch a compilation of crashes from the 2017 World Rally Championship season so far, including spectacular slides, rolls and…

    WRC
  9. Lorenzo: First Ducati win will come soon 10:38

    Lorenzo: First Ducati win will come soon

    Jorge Lorenzo believes his first win in Ducati colours will come "soon" after he led the bulk of the Aragón Grand Prix, before…

    MotoGP
  10. Aston Martin to become Red Bull title partner 09:41

    Aston Martin to become Red Bull title partner

    British luxury sportscar manufacturer Aston Martin will become the title and innovation partner of Red Bull from the 2018…

    F1
  11. Rossi 'proud' of performance at Aragón 09:29

    Rossi 'proud' of performance at Aragón

    Valentino Rossi says he was "quite proud" of his performance at the Aragón Grand Prix, having competed at the sharp end just…

    MotoGP
  12. Norris admits he 'just wanted it too much' 09:08

    Norris admits he 'just wanted it too much'

    Lando Norris has admitted that he "just wanted it too much" as a last-lap collision prevented him from securing the European…

    F3
  13. Video: Super Formula Sugo race highlights 08:20

    Video: Super Formula Sugo race highlights

    Watch highlights of the penultimate round of the 2017 Super Formula season at Sportsland Sugo.

    SF
  14. Gasly 'didn't expect' Super Formula title tilt 08:04

    Gasly 'didn't expect' Super Formula title tilt

    Red Bull junior Pierre Gasly says he did not expect to be in contention for the Super Formula title as a rookie, after scoring…

    SF
  15. Video: Carlos Sainz versus Carlos Sainz 05:20

    Video: Carlos Sainz versus Carlos Sainz

    Red Bull sets up a race between Carlos Sainz and Carlos Sainz - with Senior and Junior facing off in buggies.

    F1
  16. 04:14

    MotoGP standings after Aragón Grand Prix

    MotoGP
  17. Sunday 24 September 2017

  18. Eriksson wins, Norris misses title chance 16:46

    Eriksson wins, Norris misses title chance

    Joel Eriksson survived contact with Lando Norris to secure victory in the final race of the weekend at the Red Bull Ring, while…

    F3
  19. 15:22

    Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Aragón

    MotoGP
  20. Márquez was 'fighting against bike' in race 15:21

    Márquez was 'fighting against bike' in race

    Marc Márquez says he was "fighting against the bike" over the course of the Aragón Grand Prix after recording his fifth…

    MotoGP
  21. 14:23

    In full: Aragón Grand Prix race results

    MotoGP
  22. Márquez fights back for Aragón victory 13:46

    Márquez fights back for Aragón victory

    Marc Márquez extended his championship lead with his fifth victory of the season at the Aragón Grand Prix as he headed…

    MotoGP
  23. 12:00

    Starting grid for the Aragón Grand Prix

    MotoGP
  24. Ducati: Rear tyre choice crucial for race 11:02

    Ducati: Rear tyre choice crucial for race

    Ducati pair Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso believe rear tyre choice will be critical to the manufacturer's prospects of…

    MotoGP
  25. Eriksson wins, Norris edges towards title 10:46

    Eriksson wins, Norris edges towards title

    Motopark's Joel Eriksson ended his victory drought at the Red Bull Ring while McLaren-backed youngster Lando Norris edged closer…

    F3
  26. Flashback: Malaysia's dramatic 2016 race 10:06

    Flashback: Malaysia's dramatic 2016 race

    Last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix was a potentially season-defining race, with Lewis Hamilton winning after Sebastian Vettel's…

    F1
  27. Formula 1 tweaks jump start regulations 09:14

    Formula 1 tweaks jump start regulations

    The FIA has tightened next year's Sporting Regulations regarding jump starts in Formula 1, raising the possibility of penalties…

    F1
  28. Gasly closes on Ishiura with Sugo podium 08:38

    Gasly closes on Ishiura with Sugo podium

    Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly closed the gap to Super Formula title leader Hiroaki Ishiura to just half a point, after…

    SF
  29. Video: Toto Wolff tackles the Nürburgring 05:42

    Video: Toto Wolff tackles the Nürburgring

    Watch as Mercedes boss Toto Wolff tackles the Nürburgring in a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II during the Touring Cars…

    F1
  30. Saturday 23 September 2017

  31. 17:04

    Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Aragón

    MotoGP
  32. Márquez 'pushed too much' in pole pursuit 17:02

    Márquez 'pushed too much' in pole pursuit

    Repsol Honda rider Marc Márquez accepted that he "pushed too much" during the closing stages of qualifying for the Aragón…

    MotoGP
  33. Rossi labels front row spot 'big surprise' 14:46

    Rossi labels front row spot 'big surprise'

    Valentino Rossi labelled his front-row grid spot for the Aragón Grand Prix as a "big surprise" after making an…

    MotoGP
  34. 14:07

    Aragón Grand Prix: Qualifying 2 results

    MotoGP
  35. Viñales takes Aragón pole, Rossi third 14:04

    Viñales takes Aragón pole, Rossi third

    Movistar Yamaha's Maverick Viñales made it back-to-back pole positions during a thrilling qualifying session for the Aragón…

    MotoGP
  36. MotoGP confirms 2018 pre-season schedule 12:46

    MotoGP confirms 2018 pre-season schedule

    MotoGP organisers have confirmed the championship's pre-season test dates and venues for the 2018 campaign. As per usual, the…

    MotoGP
  37. F1 relaxes rules over current cars for demos 11:12

    F1 relaxes rules over current cars for demos

    Formula 1's Sporting Regulations have been relaxed in order to allow current-spec cars to be run at any demonstration events…

    F1
  38. 10:38

    Latest F3 photos: Saturday at Spielberg

    F3
  39. Ilott converts pole into victory in Austria 10:36

    Ilott converts pole into victory in Austria

    Prema's Callum Ilott took his fifth victory of the European Formula 3 season with a lights-to-flag drive in the opening race of…

    F3
  40. 10:00

    Aragón Grand Prix: Full Practice 3 results

    MotoGP
  41. Márquez heads FP3 as Rossi makes Q2 09:59

    Márquez heads FP3 as Rossi makes Q2

    Reigning World Champion Marc Márquez led the way as all six manufacturers had a representative inside the top 10 during the…

    MotoGP
  42. Palmer: Points a weight off my shoulders 08:58

    Palmer: Points a weight off my shoulders

    Renault's Jolyon Palmer says scoring points in Singapore was a "weight off the shoulders" and feels he can tackle the remaining…

    F1
  43. Video: Ralf Schumacher's Formula 4 team 05:48

    Video: Ralf Schumacher's Formula 4 team

    Find out more about the US Racing ADAC Formula 4 team, run by ex-Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher and former Mercedes DTM boss…

    Misc
more news