Now Alonso is leaving Alpine, could this be a disaster that is inevitable? Fernando Alonso will be able to test his new car for 2023 today. The Spaniard is leaving Alpine only two years after his comeback to join Aston Martin Racing. A choice that raises questions given the season achieved by Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll.
But this is not the first time that the decisions made by the Spaniard have been commented on. TJ13 takes a look back at Fernando Alonso’s changes of team since he won two world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006.
2007: The arrival at McLaren with Hamilton
A two-time world champion, Fernando Alonso was clearly the driver in vogue to succeed Michael Schumacher, whom he had just dominated on two occasions. However, the Spaniard chose to leave Renault to sign up with McLaren, which changes everything.
On paper, the British team has one of the best single-seaters on the grid and there is nothing shocking about Alonso joining a legendary team. But the timing will prove disastrous. It was in 2007 that McLaren decided to launch a certain Lewis Hamilton into the big time. The British driver, who is under the watchful eye of Ron Dennis, is not your usual rookie and will fight an incredible battle with the two-time world champion in a team that has been preparing him for F1 for years.
As a result, after many dirty tricks between the two drivers, it was Kimi Räikkonën who took advantage of the situation to obtain his first and only world title ahead of the two McLaren drivers who finished tied, only one point behind the Finn. A disaster for McLaren and both of their drivers.
2008: The disastrous return to Renault
Aware that he would never be considered at his true value at McLaren, where Lewis Hamilton was the darling, Fernando Alonso left the British team after only one season and chose to return to Renault.
But the French team was no longer at the level that had allowed the Spaniard to win his two world titles. His first season was marked by the crashgate in Singapore, one of his only two victories in 2008.
The 2009 season will be even worse. The Renault is very far from the Red Bulls and Brawn GPs. As a result, no victory for Fernando Alonso, who finished the season in an anonymous ninth place.
2010: The Ferrari failure
Frustrated by these two seasons, Fernando Alonso decided to fulfil the dream of most F1 drivers, namely to join Ferrari. The Spaniard’s ambition is clear: to take the Scuderia back to the top. But although he was to stay with the Italian team for five years, something he had never done elsewhere, the two-time world champion failed, despite finishing second in the drivers’ standings three times.
It was in 2010, in his first season in red, that he came closest to winning a third world title. Alonso came out on top in the last Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi. But Ferrari decided to follow the strategy of Mark Webber, who came into the pits early after hitting the wall.
As a result, the Spaniard was stuck behind driver Vitaly Petrov in seventh place… Renault driver, in seventh place. Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel was heading towards his first world title, which he won by 4 points ahead of Alonso.
In 2012, the Asturian also came close to the title when Sebastian Vettel was hit by Bruno Senna at the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix. However, the Red Bull driver finished sixth, which was enough to secure the title at the expense of Fernando Alonso.
2015 : The McLaren-Honda ordeal
After five seasons, Fernando Alonso left Ferrari, where he was replaced by his Red Bull tormentor Sebastian Vettel, and decided to return to McLaren seven years after his departure.
Determined to put an end to the hegemony of Mercedes, the Spaniard is convinced that he is joining the right project with the British team which is renewing its partnership with Honda. A partnership that made the great hours of F1 in the 1990s.
In the end, it was a total fiasco, since not only did the Spaniard not win a single race, but he fought at the back of the grid and from time to time to score points. The only positive point of Fernando Alonso’s second stint was that it gave him the opportunity to take part in the Indianapolis 500 while winning the Le Mans 24 Hours.
At the end of the 2018 season, the Spaniard left McLaren and F1, feeling that no interesting projects were available to him.
2021 : Alpine, the story that ends badly
Finally, after two years away from the paddock, Fernando Alonso made his big return to F1. On July 8, 2020, Renault announced that it had reached an agreement for the return of the two-time world champion to the team that had taken him to the top.
The French team quickly unveiled its project and became Alpine.
The Spaniard experienced a rollercoaster ride despite the rise of the French team. In 2021, however, he returned to the podium at the Qatar GP, but the 2022 season was marked by a number of mechanical incidents which provoked the anger of Fernando Alonso and marked a total break between Alonso and Alpine.
And for good reason, as soon as the winter break was over, while discussions for an extension seemed to be well underway, the Spanish driver announced that he would replace Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin in 2023.
The second half of the season was marked by numerous controversies between Fernando Alonso and his team, as well as with his team-mate Esteban Ocon. But this is now over as the two-time world champion will be swapping his blue tunic for the green Aston Martin suit.
Eager to renew this new challenge, Alonso will try to prove that, at 41, he has finally made the right career choice. Somehow, this Judge doubts it…