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F1 2015 Driver Review: Fernando Alonso

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Fernando Alonso

Team: McLaren Honda
Car No.: 14
Races: 18
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: 5th (Hungary)
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 11
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 17th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

If you would have told any discerning Formula 1 fan ten years ago that Fernando Alonso, newly-crowned world champion for the first time at the tender age of 24, would have just two titles to his name by 2015, you would most probably have been laughed out of the room.

And yet here we are, analysing the ashes of his worst season in F1 since he debuted with Minardi back in 2001 and trundled around at the back of the grid.

The failings of the revived McLaren Honda project are naturally at the root of Alonso’s woe, limiting him to just two points finishes in 2015. In truth, had the British and Hungarian Grands Prix not been as eventful as they were, there’s a good case for Alonso ending the year level on points with the Manors on a big fat zero.

Alonso has been said to have the heart of a lion, and that shone through even in the most troublesome of years. The Spaniard battled hard and vented his frustration, but still appears to have faith in the McLaren Honda project. Indeed, 2016 will be the true test of just how desperate Alonso is for that elusive third title.

And as for #PlacesAlonsoWouldRatherBe? The answer, at times, looked to be ‘anywhere but here’.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

I’m struggling to think of a driver whose talent is so great and yet got his timing so terrible as Fernando Alonso. His first move to McLaren in 2007 should have brought a third straight World Championship, but the team made a mess of its chance with how things were handled. Then his return to Renault failed to bear fruit; his time at Ferrari coincided with a downturn in car performance and needing to make miracles happening.

And yet somehow, you wondered if Alonso’s luck could get worse. Courtesy of “McLaren Part 2: Alonso Returns,” the sequel was even worse than the original.

Signs were ominous from the off in preseason testing, when Alonso’s mysterious accident in Barcelona cost him the season opener. He never recovered, although so much of that was down to the car. Even Alonso – renowned as one of the best of his generation in exceeding the machinery at his disposal – couldn’t make things work, and the moments of frustration that did bubble to the surface publicly made it clear how trying a time it was.

Part of the problem with modern day F1, and particularly the current regulations that limit the amount of engine development you can make during a year, is that the car at a driver’s disposal sometimes hides driving talent. No one in their right mind would consider Alonso the 17th best driver on the grid but the results said he was this year. It was sad, painful, and brutal to see a two-time World Champion so far down the order… but we got #PlacesAlonsoWouldRatherBe out of it, so the year wasn’t a total loss.

MotoGP champion Marc Marquez has second surgery on fractured arm

MotoGP Marc Marquez second surgery
JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images
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Defending MotoGP series champion Marc Marquez underwent a second surgery Monday after a titanium plate inserted in his fractured right arm sustained damage.

Marquez was injured during a crash in the July 19 season opener. He underwent an initial surgery July 21 in Barcelona, and doctors said there was no nerve damage.

The eight-time champion was cleared to race in the season’s second event Jerez. But Marquez decided to skip the July 26 race after experiencing discomfort while riding the No. 93 bike in a July 25 practice.

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He had planned to race in Sunday’s grand prix at the Automotodrom Brno in the Czech Republic in hopes of returning to defend his title.

In a statement Monday, the Repsol Honda Team said the titanium plate in Marquez’s right arm was successfully replaced because of stress accumulation. Marquez will stay in the hospital for two days recovering.

Dr Xavier Mir, who performed the surgery at the Hospital Universitari Dexeus, said in the release that “Marc Marquez underwent surgery 13 days ago and today he returned to the operating room. The first operation was successful, what was not expected was that the plate was insufficient. An accumulation of stress in the operated area has caused the plate to suffer some damage, so today the titanium plate has been removed and replaced by a new fixation.

“The rider has not felt pain during this period. He has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body. Unfortunately, an overstress has caused this issue. Now we have to wait 48 hours to understand the recovery time.”