The transfers that destroyed F1 careers – Part 3: Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Alpine F1 Team on the grid. United States Grand Prix, Sunday 23rd October 2022. Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA.

Fernando Alonso has some questionable transfers, which put him in the wrong car at the wrong time throughout his F1 career.

Fernando Alonso was one of the best drivers on the grid – if not the best – but his past transfers put him into a position nobody would have believed a decade ago. Relive some of the highs and lows of the Spaniard’s time at Ferrari and McLaren.


Alonso became a two-time World Champion with Renault, but his best seasons were in fact the ones where he didn‘t win a title – and those were with Ferrari. 

2010 – Abu Dhabi

2010 marks the first year in Ferrari for Alonso. A year that surely still haunts Ferrari fans to this day. Even though everything looked so promising to go the way of Ferrari, Abu Dhabi was something else.

At the last race of the 2010 season in Abu Dhabi, Fernando Alonso led the championship by eight points. And like so many great championship battles in Formula 1 history, this one has come down to the very last race. For the first time ever, F1 saw four championship title contenders: Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bulls, and Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren.

If Alonso finished second, he would win, no matter what position his rivals Webber and Vettel ended up in. Hamilton‘s only chance for the title was to take the win and hope that Alonso did not take any points. Alonso started in third, in front of him was Hamilton and pole-sitter Vettel, Webber in fifth behind Kubica.

Webber made an early pit stop on Lap 11, rejoining sixteenth. Alonso came into the pits four laps later and came out just ahead of Webber. Alonso and Webber found themselves stuck behind the Renault of Vitale Petrov. Petrov remained ahead of the two until the end of the race.

And while Alonso and Webber had the most frustrating race of the grid, Vettel could comfortably take the win as well as the championship title – making him the youngest Formula 1 champion in history.


  1. Sebastian Vettel (256 points)
  2. Fernando Alonso (252 points)
  3. Mark Webber (242 points)
  4. Lewis Hamilton (240 points)


The 2011 season was a rather disappointing one for Ferrari and Alonso. Nevertheless, Alonso continued to succeed and totally outshone his teammate Felipe Massa. While Massa didn‘t manage to place higher than 5th the whole season, Alonso took one win and finished on the podium 10 times. But still, the Spaniard only finished 4th in the championship standings.


  1. Sebastian Vettel (392 points)
  2. Jenson Button (270 points)
  3. Mark Webber (258 points)
  4. Fernando Alonso (257 points)


Now, 2012 is often referred to as Alonso‘s best season in his career. Statistically, Ferrari didn‘t have the fastest car that season. In fact, it was only the fourth fastest car on the track. However, Alonso got the most out of the car and placed it on the podium 13 times and was a three-time winner. Again, Alonso lost the title by just three points to Vettel’s Red Bull. 


Ferrari had a great start to the 2013 season, with Alonso winning in China and Spain. But who would‘ve thought at the time, that his win in Spain would be his last? With nine podiums and two wins, the Spaniard still managed to claim P2 in the championship driver standings.

Rumors about Alonso leaving Ferrari and already talking with other teams spread after the summer break. There were many talks about a potential transfer to either Red Bull or McLaren for the 2014 season. However, Alonso stayed with the Italian team for the upcoming 2014 season.


The 2014 season was a real disappointment for Alonso. During his time with Ferrari, he missed the championship by only a few points two times. But this season, he wasn‘t even in the fight for the championship. Once again the rumors about a potential transfer to McLaren were strong. Instead of signing a new contract with Ferrari, Alonso decided to eventually leave the team and race for McLaren in 2015. Despite his past history with McLaren, which didn‘t end on good terms back in 2007, he made the decision to return.

McLaren – A transfer that shattered hopes

2015 – McLaren Honda

McLaren thought they‘d be able to build a competitive car with Honda coming back to Formula 1, but there were already several reliability issues in pre-season testing.

A very questionable and mysterious crash in testing forced Alonso to miss the first race of the 2015 season. There were numerous complaints from Alonso about the car. Of course, we can‘t forget about his famous radio in the Japanese Grand Prix, where he referred to the Honda power unit as a “GP2 engine”. 

There was pure disappointment for McLaren‘s first season with Honda. Alonso didn‘t stand on the podium once throughout the season and placed 17th in the championship standings.

2016 – Melbourne

The season kick-off in Australia ended in a huge crash for Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez. Alonso tried to overtake Gutierrez at Turn 3, but made contact with Gutierrez‘ rear tire and got sent into the gravel before hitting the wall at a speed of approximately 300 kph. Later it was revealed that Alonso experienced an impact of 45G. He suffered from fractured ribs as well as a lung injury.

After his horror crash in Australia, the 2016 season saw a slight improvement for McLaren Honda and Alonso. His best result was a fifth-place finish in Monaco and the US, moving him up to P10 in the standings. 


Since the 2016 season happened to be an improvement for McLaren, the hopes for 2017 were very high. However, those hopes were already destroyed at the beginning of the season. Alonso started the season with three DNFs and one DNS in a row. Overall he had 11 DNFs throughout the season, finishing 15th in the standings. It was another season filled with bad luck and no podium in sight.

2018 – Retirement

In 2018 McLaren ended their partnership with Ford and switched to Renault power units. The season started strong for him with a 5th place in Australia, but still Alonso slowly fell back in the championship standings throughout the season. Alonso regularly outperformed his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, but still only managed to get P11 in the standings.

At the end of the season, Alonso stated that he will retire from F1. Following his retirement, he raced in other motorsport categories such as 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Indy 500, and the Dakar Rally. In contrast to his past few years in Formula 1, he was reasonably lucky in other motorsport series. Maybe that was exactly what Alonso needed, a break from F1 and an environment where he could truly show what he‘s capable of.

2021 – The comeback

He made his return to Formula 1 with Alpine, formerly Renault, in 2021 and stayed there for the past two seasons. Now, in 2023, he will race for Aston Martin, where he is replacing the retiring Sebastian Vettel.

Formula Image Credit: Alpine