Birth date: 29/07/1981
First F1 race: Australian Grand Prix, 2001
2012 points: 278
2012 best finish: 1 (x3)
2012 championship position: 2
You get the feeling Alonso is still smarting from his near miss in last year’s championship decider at Interlagos, and that will make him a very dangerous opponent indeed this year.
Add to that the fact that it’s now a remarkable seven years since the Spaniard completed stylish back-to-back title wins in 2006, and the hunger to claim that elusive third crown will be greater than ever for the man from Asturias.
Alonso broke on to the scene in 2001 with Minardi, becoming the third-youngest driver ever to start a Formula One race, but it was for Renault that he made his name with those two championship victories.
Received wisdom says he was the cream of the crop again last season, thwarted only by extreme hard luck and the disadvantage of facing up to a formidable beast in the car from Red Bull.
His comments in the build up to this campaign certainly suggest he believes it was the machine, not the man, who beat him last time out.
If those pointed barbs in Sebastian Vettel’s direction seem a little disrespectful, they will at least add a frisson to the rivalry. It would be surprising to hear the composed
German respond in kind, but it will be fascinating to see how the feud plays out in 2013.
2013 predictions: “I fought for the championship last year with a car that was two seconds off the pace in the winter. We need to repeat that kind of performance and to improve some of the mistakes – maximizing the potential of the car at every race.”
Did you know? Fernando is a big football fan – he supports Real Madrid and cites Zinedine Zidane as one of his most admired athletes.