There are individuals who in their wake leave indelible marks in the memory and in the hearts of millions of people, becoming legends. Armed with an innate talent and a unique charisma, they are capable of reaching the soul of those who continue to believe in magic, of those who still have the child that lives inside each one.
One of those proper names is Fernando Alonso Diaz (Oviedo, 1981), which twenty years ago put on the motor map Asturias and deluded a country that discovered the Formula One. Its heroic victories and its most humane defeats made the Great Circus conquer the televisions of millions of families, even those of the most remote in the world of motorsport.
The pilot from Oviedo, who said goodbye to the category that saw him reign at the end of the 2018 season, come back this year with the intention of continuing to expand a track record worthy of the greats of motorsport history. And it is that, far from stagnating, the ‘Magic’ trophy room has continued to grow in the 24 months and one day that it has been separated from F1 thanks to new challenges in different disciplines.
Now, the two-time world champion considers that it is time to return and this weekend take the controls of the Alpine, formerly Renault, to start a season that is presumed as exciting as it is complicated.
Alonso shines in a gray Alpine start
The Spanish pilot introduced himself in the Bahrain test recovered after the jaw fracture he suffered when he was hit by a vehicle while riding a bicycle near his residence in Lugano (Switzerland).
The 206 laps that he gave to the Sakhir layout showed that at 39 he maintains a great state of form and his times make it clear that his speed remains intact. So much so, that his best time was 8 tenths faster than his partner, the French Esteban Ocon. Obviously, the different track conditions or the fuel load each one had to take into account must be taken into account, but the data shows that Alonso arrives with a voracious appetite and in full capacity.
Regarding the rest of the grid, the Oviedo left Bahrain with the tenth best time, although ahead of him up to five riders set their best time with a softer tire than the one used by Alonso. Therefore, some room for improvement can be presumed.
But it was not all good news. His car, the Alpine A521 left bittersweet sensations. The car was very reliable, but did not show a great pace on the asphalt, so for the moment, it is expected that it can fight for the points. We will see if given the right circumstances, the blue tide can celebrate a podium.
“Very excited” for his return
Three days after getting into his new car, Alonso was “very excited” before his return in the Bahrain Grand Prix and acknowledged the work done. “There has been a lot of preparation for this moment, not only with the team during testing and the work done at both factories during the winter period, but also personally. Since I agreed to join the Alpine team, I have tried very hard to be physically prepared so much. as mentally for this season, “he noted.
The Asturian stressed that he is “highly motivated” by the “challenging season ahead”. “It was fun being behind the wheel of a Formula One car during testing, but now I can’t wait to race,” confessed the double world champion.
20 years since its debut
Since he first got on a kart when he was three years old, Fernando Alonso, started a career that led him to win two Formula One world championships (2005 and 2006), a WEC Endurance World Championship (2019) and to become the the only driver in history to enter the FIA Hall of Fame.
Few thought that that young 19-year-old pilot who made his debut at the Great Circus in March 2001 aboard a modest Minardi would become one of the proper names in the history of motorsport. At the height of mythical figures such as Fangio, Lauda, Prost, Senna or Schumacher himself, Fernando Alonso was forging his legend based on work, perseverance and enormous talent.
Its enormous potential did not go unnoticed in a paddock witnessing the birth of a star. ‘Nano’ landed at renault after finishing his assignment at Minardi to become in 2003 the youngest driver to win a race, to achieve a pole position and a podium in the top flight.
The seasons 2005 and 2006 they were marked for history. Alonso conquered the glory with two world titles and ended the tyranny of Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, who accumulated five consecutive drivers and six constructors’ titles.
After two historical seasons in which Fernando was formed around a blue tide of loyal fans, ‘Magic’ suffered a bitter season with McLaren – Mercedes. His notorious disagreements with the team’s management and with his teammate, the Briton Lewis hamilton, They took the Oviedo back home, to Renault. Shortly after signed with the legendary Ferrari, squad with which he tried unsuccessfully to end the dominance of Red Bull. After five seasons in which he added three runners-up dressed in red, he decided to undertake a risky challenge back to Mclaren, where a very young engine Sling He did not measure up and frustrated an Alonso who in 2018 said goodbye to the Great Circus.
New challenges outside of F1
After leaving F1, the Spaniard, far from taking a break, took on great challenges to satisfy his hunger. On the horizon was the great objective of conquering the Triple Crown, an achievement awarded to the winning drivers of the three most famous races in the world: The Monaco Grand Prix or the Championship F1 World, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500.
Alonso conquered the prestigious French career in 2018 and 2019 and increased his record with the WEC Endurance World Cup (2019). However, the results in the United States were not as expected. After surprising locals and strangers on the oval circuit in 2017, where a mechanical problem ruined his attempt to win the Indianapolis 500, the Asturian, prevented by a very uncompetitive car, failed to qualify for the race in 2019. It was in 2020 when he managed to cross the finish line for the first time at the ‘Indianapolis Motor Speedway’ and he did it in 21st position.
The Spaniard took advantage of his time away from F1 to open a new page in his history by participating in the Dakar rally 2020, thus adding to the list of Formula One drivers who dared to challenge the extremely tough test in the desert. Alonso once again astonished with his ability to adapt to a discipline that bears no relation to the categories that are contested in closed circuits.
Next to Marc Coma, Alonso made the Toyota dance on the dunes to finally finish in 13th position (4 hours and 42 minutes behind the winner, Carlos Sainz). ‘Magic’ managed to finish one of the most demanding races on the planet and was very competitive, with a second place on the stage and two quarters.