Fernando Alonso Aiming to Make a Splash in Spa

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIAugust 9, 2011

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JULY 31:  Third placed Fernando Alonso of Spain and Ferrari celebrates on the podium following the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring on July 31, 2011 in Budapest, Hungary.  (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Getty Images)
Vladimir Rys/Getty Images

If there is one driver hoping to make a splash when the Formula 1 circuit heads to Spa it is Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

Widely considered as the best post-Schumacher era driver, the varying levels of forest surrounded track in Belgium have always proved a step too far for the double world champion.

It is one of only four races on this year's calender that the Spaniard has never won (if you omit the debut Grand Prix of India). 

Only in Abu Dhabi has he failed to reach the podium in two attempts, a stat that Alonso passes very little comment on.

Taking the relatively new Abu Dhabi track and Indian Grand Prix out of the equation, statistically Spa is where Alonso has produced the weakest results.

He has picked up two second place finishes in the other Grand Prix he has failed to win (Brazil and Turkey) with only a solitary second at Spa in 2005. 

Overall in 2005, he dominated proceedings in heading to his first world championship. Yet he could do little to tackle the Mclaren of Kimi Raikkonen who roared to victory with a near 30-second advantage in Spa that year. 

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However, with Ferrari looking defiantly resurgent as this season has progressed, is this the year Alonso will finally break his drought in Belgium? 

His victory in Great Britain in July was monumental in turning around the fortunes of the team considered third best this season.

Five podium finishes in the last six races suggests that although it is Mclaren that have gained more on Red Bull, at least Fernando will not go down without a fight. 

Oddly he has never won another Grand Prix on more than two occasions but his collection of victories at 14 of the 20 tracks illustrates the all-around excellence he has behind the wheel. 

Alonso will also no doubt want to end the last two years of torment he has had in Spa. His worst qualifying of 13th in a lacklustre Renault in 2009 ended in retirement after damage sustained in colliding with Adrian Sutil. 

Last year, the changeable weather conditions also thwarted his final qualifying efforts. He started 10th and suffered a second consecutive retirement at the track after an uncharacteristic spin at the Les Combes-Malmedy complex.

Maybe it will be the weather that dictates again his ability to challenge for the win at Spa. Eager eyes will  be on his qualifying attempts as a career best of only third in 2004 and 2007 can go some way into dissecting the reason he has never dominated the Grand Prix. 

In 2004, it was a spin that edged him out after he had led two laps of the Grand Prix, whereas in 2007 whilst at Renault it was the Ferrari duo of Massa and Raikkonen that the Spaniard found hard to penetrate. 

As long as he betters his previous two efforts then he may be in with a shot. Success would mean he can head of to Abu Dhabi and India later in the year to spearhead a greater challenge and attempt to accomplish in the future a victory at all Grand Prix circuits. 

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