You love him or you hate him or just feel sorry for the Spaniard, but you cannot ignore him. Either way, you are thinking about the McLaren driver. Parallels can be drawn between his story and that of a Bollywood movie. The hero comes from the humblest of origins, and on the basis of his talent makes it to the top of his field before fate decides to play spoilsport. The hero falls from grace and languishes in hardship. While in the movie the hero again rises to the top, similar prospects are looking rather bleak for the Ex Ferrari driver.
Hailing from the small Spanish town of Oviedo, in 2001 Fernando made it to F1 for Minardi where he showed his talent in a dog of a car. And after fulfilling test driver roles for Renault in 2002 the next year, he was on the grid. 2 years later, he was the youngest world champion and a year later, the youngest double world champion. Rest is history as we know it but despite being the right man at the wrong places, the Spaniard isn’t completely bereft of any wrongdoing on his part. On the contrary, his ambitions and determination that make him the best performer on the track but off it and in the garage makes him an enemy of his own chances.
The Renault Years
Even before he was a superstar champion, the extent of his need for utter control of a team became apparent at Renault in 2004, while driving alongside Jarno Trulli. Despite having the much better first half of the season, including a win at Monaco, Trulli was fired. Although Briatore went public with the reason that Trulli had lost his focus but replacement Villeneuve’s similar performance added credence to the Italian’s statement that the car was the real culprit. But Alonso’s results defied what was coming out of the ousted Trulli’s mouth. Critics were quick to point out that the French outfit was completely webbed around Alonso and the special bond he shared with Briatore ensured that.
But in 2006 after he had announced his move to McLaren for 2007 and in the wake of new team mate Fisichella who was no doubt faster than his previous team mate and a closer competition with Ferrari, Alonso’s egoist face unraveled before the world when he accused his own team and team mate for not fully supporting his title fight due to his defection to McLaren and went as far as claiming that they had abandoned him.
2007 – Annus Horriblis
What happened in 2007 is the stuff to be made movies about and books to be written on it. Such is the magnitude of that one year in Alonso’s career is that it probably started a chain of event the repercussions of which still hound him. Moving to McLaren in the wake of a double championship, Alosno arrived expecting Numero Uno status and was teamed with a Rookie. No one in their wildest of dreams had thought that 2007 could transpire to what actually happened. Hamilton turned out to be ultra fast, had the measure of Alonso and shared a close connection with Dennis. From blocking his team mate in Hungary to blackmailing Dennis on the spygate scandal and going as far as demanding an FIA official to be present in the garage to ensure parity between the team mates. It was 2007 when Alonso finally descended into darkness and became the devil himself.
Back to Renault and Ferrari
Out of options, Nando moved back to his old team but controversy never left his side as the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix was won because Briatore staged Piquet’s crash. 2 years in the trot, and el Nano landed the Ferrari drive giving Scuderia his 5 years yet never being able to lift the championship trophy. While the blame squarely rests on Ferrari for failing him, insiders have silently pointed out his egoistical and critical nature and pointing the finger was none other than Niki Lauda who accused the Spaniard of not keeping up the morale of the team up when he was needed to do that the most. Even Ex-Ferrari Chairman and Alonso’s supporter Luca Montezemelo in an interview confessed that in his later Ferrari years Alonso had become convinced in his mind that he cannot win a championship with Ferrari and that transpired into his behavior and outlook and in turn very demoralizing for the Scuderia. This prompted their decision to go behind his back to strike a deal with Vettel.
His return to McLaren has been marred by an underpowered Honda engine and while progress is evident but Alonso’s eventual dream of a third world title remains far off the reach and future prospects much to speculation.
Perhaps Nando is suffering from acute bad luck or perhaps maybe karma is biting back the Spaniard for all his years of political games, incessant demands for a number one status and overtly critical and egoistical behavior, afterall Karma is a bitch.