There was a time when it seemed we might never see Fernando Alonso in the overalls of a Formula One team that wasn’t Ferrari.
The relationship between the two began with a victory and very nearly ended with a championship triumph in 2010. The following year Alonso inked a long-term deal with the team.
However four years of being eclipsed by Red Bull put a strain on the partnership, and their hugely disappointing 2014 campaign finally fractured it. Alonso has returned to McLaren in the hope of finally taking a third world championship with Honda power.
But although they fell short of their ultimate goal, Alonso nonetheless took 11 wins and 44 podium finishes with Ferrari. Here’s a look back on his five-year stint with the Scuderia.
2010: A winning start
Ferrari moved Kimi Raikkonen aside at the end of 2009 to make way for Alonso. Like his predecessor, Alonso won his first race with the team. A second win followed amid controversy at the Hockenheimring, where team mate Felipe Massa was ordered to move aside.
This marked the beginning of Alonso’s most competitive spell at Ferrari. Further wins in Italy, Singapore and South Korea put the title within his grasp.
But it all went wrong at the final race, where Alonso was one of four drivers in the hunt for the title. Preoccupied with keeping Mark Webber behind, he inadvertently allowed Sebastian Vettel to get far enough ahead of him to claim the victory and the title.
2011: Just one win
Red Bull dominated the 2011 season with their RB7, a car which exploited the potential of blowing exhaust gases into the diffuser. Alonso’s sole win came at the only race that year where the practice was curtailed, at Silverstone. But Vettel ran away with a second title.
2012: So close
Ferrari were well off the pace at the beginning of 2012, but a stunning win by Alonso in a damp Malaysian Grand Prix formed the basis of an unlikely championship bid. Valencia was another highlight, as he raced from 11th on the grid to win.
But Red Bull came on strong towards the end of the year. Although Alonso arrived at the final race still able to win the title, Vettel clung on to win for the third year in a row.
2013: The last wins
Two wins in the first five races indicated this might finally be Alonso’s year. But those proved his most recent victories to date.
Vettel and Red Bull destroyed their rivals in the second half of the year, his nine consecutive wins meaning the championship outcome was never in doubt. Though still contracted to Ferrari for three more years, Alonso made his first contact with McLaren about a potential return.
2014: A difficult year
The switch to new 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrids did not go well for Ferrari, whose power unit proved the least competitive of F1’s three engine manufacturers. The F14 T failed to win a race all year, and Alonso made just two visits to the podium.
Before the season was over, he had agreed to an astonishing return to McLaren, the team he departed amid acrimony in 2007.
2014 F1 season review
- The Complete F1 Fanatic 2014 season review
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- F1 defies critics as fans praise 2014 racing
- The Stats and Facts highlights of 2014