With his latest surprise move to McLaren-Honda, Alonso has yet again shaken things up on the F1 grid. While perhaps not as shocking as Kimi Raikkonen’s move back to Ferrari in 2014, Alonso has stirred up the F1 world on several occasions, both on and off track. He splits opinions among fans but there is no denying, the man can drive a car. Really well.
What makes Alonso interesting?
He is not besties with Ron Dennis. The two-time World Champion received a bit of a reputation of not playing well with others during his last spell at McLaren in 2007. Not only did he famously fall out with team mate Lewis Hamilton, whom despite being a rookie managed to outperform his team mate and win the World Championship title for himself, he also centred in a major disagreement with Team Boss Ron Dennis. Flash forward to 2015 and Alonso is back alongside Dennis and while both claim to have put the past behind them, they both remain strong willed characters with hot tempers and defined opinions – a heady mix which may well turn out to be as entertaining as Honda’s return to the grid.
He is a double World Champion. And he wants more. Alonso has for quite some time been considered one of the main talents in the sport and Alonso fans and Tifosi alike have been held on the edge of their seats in the Alonso-Vettel championship battles of recent years. While Vettel was winning his fourth consecutive championship in 2013 Alonso was openly voicing his opinion about the weak performance of the Ferrari car. This again landed him in a spot of trouble, this time with the chairman of Ferrari Luca Di Montezembolo who publicly admonished his driver. Tut tut.
He is a rare breed of driver. What do I mean by that? Well, Alonso’s driving and competing style has been likened to that of French F1 legend Alain Prost, who dominated the sport in the 1980’s. Both Prost and Alonso compete with calculated intelligence, prioritising the long game. This is markedly different to the “full-steam-ahead” approach favoured by Lewis Hamilton, who tends to drive fast and aggressively. In comparison, Alonso will bide his time, calculate his percentages and work with the engineers to understand the car in depth. This in turn allows him to strike at the opportune moment and means that he consistently gets the most out of whatever car he is in. That said, he is a race day driver, not a qualification lap driver, which is his main weak spot.
He is the source of the Alonsomanía phenomenon in Spain. Despite playing host to all the current F1 testing as well as the Barcelona Grand Prix, as well as the European Grand Prix for a time, Spanish F1 fans were traditionally not as noticeable on the F1 grids as other European nations, such as Italian, German and British fans. With Alonso’s entry and subsequent success however, there has been an F1 revival in Spain and especially in his native Asturias. He is among one of the most celebrated sportsmen in Spain and his supporters are usually spotted wearing the Asturian flag colours – blue and yellow.
He is Single. That’s right, the Spaniard Superstar broke it off with his Russian supermodel girlfriend Dasha Kapustina in December 2014. This is more than likely to fuel the Alonsomanía rage in Spain yet again. Alonso was previously married to Spanish Popstar Raquel del Rosario from 2006 to 2011. Raquel who, you ask? She is the lead singer in the Spanish pop band El Sueño de Morfeo and you might remember her from the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden where she landed a 25th place for Spain. That’s second-to-last for those of you unfamiliar with the Eurovision.