Fernando Alonso enters Formula1 at the tender age of 19-year-old. The young Spaniard has a
limited experience of single-seater racing but impressed the Formula1 fraternity with his
fourth place finish in International Formula 3000 last year, in only his second season of
Alonso is contracted to the Benetton team, but has been loaned to Minardi for 2001 in
order to gain racing experience. His win in Spa last year first cemented him in the minds
of Formula1 onlookers as a rising young talent.
He joins Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen as the latest young and inexperienced driver to
be brought into Formula1, but unlike Button does not possess the laid-back charm and cool
that impressed so many during the Briton's debut season. Alonso is actually quite shy and
will have to become accustomed to the attention that surrounds a Formula1 driver.
He was the first of the Minardi line-up to be announced, soon after the announcement that
Paul Stoddart had taken over the team. He will not have the best equipment on the grid
but, again unlike Button, he will have the opportunity to learn his craft in a less
pressured environment before, as is very likely, he is recalled to Benetton.