Born on July 29, 1981, in Oviedo, Spain, Fernando Alonso was born to compete. His father, Jos� Luis Alonso, had always longed to be a go-kart driver and tried to pass this passion on to his two children. First, Fernando Alonso built a kart for his 8-year-old daughter Lorena, but she never got into the sport. As a result, the kart was passed on to 3-year-old Fernando, who immediately took to racing. During the first two years of driving the kart, Fernando Alonso and his family thought of it as just a game, something the young boy would do to pass time and amuse himself. At 6 years old, however, Jos� began to notice his son's aptitude for racing, and so he fine-tuned the kart to get it ready for competitions. By 1988, Fernando Alonso had begun dominating the junior kart leagues, going from circuit to circuit on the weekends and after school. By the time he was 12, Fernando's budding career as a kart driver had become so serious that his family could no longer afford to send him to races far away from their home, or even afford the materials required by Fernando's more powerful cars. Thus, the Alonsos sought support and, after Fernando Alonso dominated a race in the Catalan Championship, they found a team willing to take on the young driver.
From then on, Fernando Alonso graduated to more serious racing as IAME -- a famous world karting name -- took charge of his career. Alonso won the Junior Spanish Championship in 1994 and then began traveling throughout Europe, competing in ultra-competitive karting leagues. To offset the cost of his travels (despite the help from IAME), Alonso earned cash as a mechanic for drivers even younger than himself. In 1996, Fernando Alonso became the World Junior Karting champion after taking home several wins, and then won the Spanish and Italian legs of the championship the following year. In the meantime, former Formula 1 driver Adrian Campos had taken notice of Alonso's talents and gave the lad a chance to graduate to Formula 1 racing. By 1998, Fernando got a handle on racing with gear shifting and, in 1999, he graduated to the Formula Nissan circuit. Amazingly, it took no time for Alonso to learn the ropes of Formula Nissan, and he quickly dominated race after race. Fernando Alonso won the league championship in his first year, and his managers decided to elevate him to the next step, Formula 3000, by 2000. With the Astromega team, Fernando Alonso accomplished and learned a lot, though he did not dominate as he had in previous leagues. Still, his performance in 2000 was enough to allow him to move on to Formula 1, the world stage of racing. Debuting with Minardi in 2001, Fernando Alonso became the third-youngest driver in Formula 1 history to start a race when he made his debut at the Australian Grand Prix. Though Alonso did not earn any points during his rookie season, he showed promise, as he occasionally outraced opponents who had the privilege of racing superior cars.
After paying his dues with Minardi, Fernando Alonso moved on to the Renault team. As the French F1 team already had two established drivers in its lineup, Alonso became a test driver in 2002. Renault groomed Alonso to become its top driver, which is what he became the following year. That season, Fernando showed flashes of brilliance, becoming the youngest pole winner ever at the Malaysian Grand Prix and the youngest winner ever at the Hungarian Grand Prix. After reaching the podium four times, Alonso finished an impressive sixth overall at the end of the season. Though he did not win any races in 2004, Alonso one-upped himself by finishing fourth overall in the standings, again reaching four podiums. Renault was poised to improve its overall performance in 2005 and so, with a determined Fernando Alonso leading the way, the team immediately made its imprint on the season as Fernando Alonso emerged victorious in the second and third races of the season. Fans worldwide have recognized Alonso's skills and as such, "Alonsomania" has swept over Spain and other parts of Europe. As Fernando Alonso continues to impress during the 2005 season and is poised to become the youngest champion in F1 history (to date, he has already come in first in the Malaysian Grand Prix, Bahrain Grand Prix, San Marino Grand Prix, European Grand Prix, French Grand Prix, and German Grand Prix), many hope it's a sign of things to come.
Racing along at 125 mph in challenging race circuits around the world is no piece of cake. Only a select few can handle the physical and mental pressures of being thrust into these situations week after week, and even fewer can sustain the rigors of this high-speed career over a long period. Herein lies the allure of Formula 1 racing and the mystique surrounding its unique cast of characters. Standing out among the interesting, (seemingly) slightly mad F1 drivers is Fernando Alonso. He has injected a youthful energy into an already adrenaline-filled league, assuming one of the top positions in F1 by letting his spectacular ability do all the talking... or driving. Meanwhile, fans worldwide have taken to the young phenom, highlighted by "Alonsomania" in Spain, as the country hails him as one of its most beloved athletes. In terms of character, Fernando Alonso possesses many elements of the Type A personality profile. Hyper-competitive, stubborn and determined to be the best, he fits well into the high-octane world of F1 racing. Refreshingly, however, Fernando Alonso is humble outside the racetrack, claiming to be surprised by his widespread fame and a little uncomfortable in the spotlight. Of course, Alonso owes his quick rise to fame to his skills as a Formula 1 driver. In five short seasons, he has quickly evolved from an aggressive rookie to one of F1's most promising young drivers. Fernando Alonso's quick ascent to the top of F1 means that the global league will be in great hands for some time. To be honest, we would not express jealousy, or surprise, if our girlfriends told us they desired Fernando Alonso. Women always like the rebel, and you don't get much more rebellious than a top racecar driver. When you mix in rugged Spanish good looks and a humble demeanor, there's little wonder that "Alonsomania" affects the ladies as well.
After dominating go-kart and second-tier racing leagues in his teens, Fernando Alonso moved to Formula 1 in 2001. Racing for Minardi, he became the third-youngest rookie in F1 history when he debuted at the Australian Grand Prix, but he failed to score points that season. After spending the entire 2002 season test-driving for the new Renault team, Fernando Alonso let loose in 2003, becoming the youngest driver ever to record the pole position, doing so at the Malaysian Grand Prix. He then topped himself by becoming the youngest winner in F1 history after taking the podium at the Hungarian Grand Prix. At the end of the 2003 season, Alonso finished sixth overall, having won four races. Thanks to his '03 performance, fans were anticipating big things from Alonso in 2004. Though he did not win a race that year -- due in part to Ferrari's dominance -- Alonso finished fourth overall in the standings and was clearly among the league's elite. All this was merely a prelude to an awesome 2005 season, as Fernando Alonso quickly dominated the rest of the pack and emerged as the points leader with less than half a season to go. The Spaniard is poised to overtake longtime F1 dominator Michael Schumacher as league champion and looks to establish a legacy of his own in the seasons to follow.
When you flirt with death every week or two and have the privilege to pilot one of the world's most advanced and fastest cars, you're wicked cool. Not only does Fernando Alonso do this, he does so in style, overtaking all his opponents with his aggressive driving skills. When not wearing Renault's trademark blue and yellow colors at racing events, Fernando Alonso dons an array of fashionable, low-key threads. From simple and stylish Ts to fresh dress shirts and jeans, he always looks cool without blowing anyone away. At the racetrack, Fernando Alonso mixes up the team colors with a sweet pair of shades and lets his cool long hair down for all to see.
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