It’s the 19th of December 1999 when Fernando Alonso had his first taste with the Formula One. In 2000 he tested a couple of times more for the Italian team before he became their driver in 2001. The rest is history, winning the championship in 2005 and 2006 he became one of the most competitive driver on the grid. In 2023 racing for Astin Martin he shows he still has it to race for podiums and even victories. What is Alonso’s magic?
I recall Fernando Alonso racing for Minardi in 2001 and showing some remarkable results during the races. For 2002 he signed a test contact with Renault only to become their driver in 2003. However, I never liked Alonso when he drove for the Renault team. Perhaps it had to do with the fact i have been a Tifosi from day one I discovered Formula One. He was able to fight with the Ferrari’s though I think it had to do with his attitude in the first few years he drove for Renault.
After 2006 it seems something changed in him. The 2007 season when he drove for McLaren was probably the game changer for him. I actually felt sorry for him when Flavio Briatore ordered Piquet Jr. to crash his Renault in the wall during the Singapore Grand Prix. Only to have Fernando win the race. Obviously, this is one of the worst days in his career.
Though, what I would to talk about as well is the magic he brings on the grid. Since 2001, with a break in 2019 and 2020, he has been part of the sport. Part of the magic is the fact he is still approachable and seems not to been part of the Drive to survive hype. He kept everything to himself and since his comeback in 2021 he seems to enjoy the sport even more. This season shows why he is still on the grid. With the age of 42, which many seem to find way to old, he is still competitive with seven podiums this season.
While I wasn’t a fan of him in the beginning, I’m glad he is still part of the grid. The last driver on the grid that drove before the millennium with a Formula One car. The last driver that drove for Minardi in the Formula One, and one of the era we all loved. I truly hope he will stay as long as he is competitive.