He began to make his mark at an international level: third in the '95 World Championship and first the following year. In 1997, the young Spaniard took the titles in his home country and in Italy in the Inter-A category: he took the former title again in 1998, when he also came second in the European championship. This performance earned him a seat in the Formula Nissan Campos team and won the championship the first time out.On the 13 th of December 1999, at Jerez, the Minardi team gave Fernando his first taste of driving a Formula 1 car. In 2002, his manager, Flavio Friatore, secured him the role of test driver for Renault, which would prove useful experience. In 2004, he took his first title in 2005, with one round remaining, after a duel with Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren, winning seven races on the way. He did the double months later, again in Brazil, but this time battling a rival by the name of Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari. In 2007, his move to McLaren ended prematurely. Fernando won four Grands Prix, with the title going down to a three-way battle with teammate Hamilton and eventual winner Raikkonen in the Ferrari. Fernando's second stint at Renault was not so successful. After a difficult start, 2008 ended with two good wins in Singapore and Fuji, while 2009 was a barren year in which he finished ninth in the championship. September 30, 2009 marks the date that Alonso announced his move to Ferrari. In his debut season with Ferrari, Alonso finished ten times on the podium, including five wins. At the final round in Abu Dhabi he missed out on the Driver's title by the smallest of margins. In 2011, the Spaniard drove his second season with Scuderia Ferrari, finishing fourth in the Drivers' championship, with ten podiums and one win in the British Grand Prix to his name, a win that came 60 years after the Scuderia's maiden Formula 1 victory, taken by Jose Froilan Gonzalez. Alonso is now heading into the last race of the 2012 season in Sao Paulo, Brazil where he will battle with Sebastian Vettel for the World Championship.