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Fernando Alonso

Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 2005

Fernando Alonso Díaz (Oviedo, Asturias, Spain, 1981), a career marked by triumphs from the outset and his position as leader of the Formula 1 World Championship have made him Spain´s best known sportsman internationally. Second only to Mexico´s Ricardo Rodriguez as the youngest debutant at this level, he sat behind a wheel for the first time at the age of three, driving a kart that his father had built and going on to become champion in all the lower categories. He has broken records throughout his career: youngest winner of a Grand Prix (Hungary, 2000); youngest driver to stand on a winners´ podium and earn a pole position, in Malaysia, and the fastest lap during a Grand Prix, in Canada.

He began driving in Formula Nissan on the back of his 2000 world karting championship. Good results saw him step up to Formula 3000 that same year, when he also abandoned his studies in Oviedo to dedicate himself full time in the direction of his career in sport. He first had to demonstrate a maturity at the wheel that his team managers were loath to acknowledge, but once he had earned their trust, podiums were soon to follow, alongside his first pole position and fastest lap in Belgium. Fourth place in the world championship for the category saw him catapulted up to Formula 1 the following year as a member of the Minardi team. He had a great season there despite the limitations of the team in the face of its more powerful rivals. In 2002, he joined Renault as a test driver and reserve to learn and get experience in a big team. In a single year he earned the position of team driver and in 2003, his second season in Formula 1, he began to make history, winning the Hungarian Grand Prix and finishing sixth in the world rankings. Alonso then went one better, and was third in Australia, Germany and Hungary, and second in France. These results took him to fourth place in the World Championship. He won the world championship again in 2006 and was runner-up in 2010, 2012 and 2013. In 2007, he won third place. He competed for Ferrari from 2010 to 2014.

Alonso is the fifth-ranking driver in the history of Formula 1 in terms of most wins (32 major prizes), and is ranked sixth in terms of reaching the podium (101 times). He has won the Malaysian Grand Prix three times, the German Grand Prix three times, the European Grand Prix three times (once in Spain), the Monaco Grand Prix twice, the British Grand Prix twice, the Italian Grand Prix twice, the Japanese Grand Prix twice and the Spanish Grand Prix twice.

In 2007, the Asturian racing driver created the Fernando Alonso Foundation to encourage and promote motorsports and projects focussing on road education. Its headquarters are the Fernando Alonso Sports Complex, located in Asturias, which has a karting track and a driving school.

Fernando Alonso won the 2003 Princess Cristina National Sports Award for sporting newcomer. UNICEF Spanish Committee Ambassador, he holds Spain’s Gold Medal of the Royal Order of Sports Merit (2006) and the National Sports Award for Best Sportsman of the Year (2005).

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