Curse of the fifth: 1956 F1 season and Fernando Alonso

© F1 Pulse, 18 June 2014
© AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Fernando Alonso often finds himself qualifying in fifth position for Grands Prix ever since he joined Ferrari.

The 1956 Indy 500 was classified as an F1 race © AP Photo

In the 67 races that the Spaniard competed with Maranello, with the starting point taken as the 2010 Brazilian GP when he first started from P5 with the team, the double world champion has found himself in the same spot in nearly a third of his appearances.

In those 67 outings - he has been with Ferrari for 84 Grands Prix now - he has qualified fifth on 22 occasions, three of which he gained after penalties were applied to other drivers who had qualified ahead of him. Nine of those P5s came during the 2011 season alone. This year he has already qualified fifth thrice in seven races.

Although his horse hasn’t been prancing the way he has been hoping all these years, pointing out to the unusual number of times he has coveted P5, he should consider himself a bit lucky.

For in the eight-race 1956 season, all drivers who qualified in fifth position that year in a freak coincidence failed to finish the race. Here are the results of those who started P5 that season:

Argentina Jose Froilan Gonzalez Maserati 24/98 5th DNF Engine
Monaco Harry Schell Vanwall 2/100 5th DNF Accident
Indy 500 Tony Bettenhausen Kurtis Kraft 160/200 5th DNF Accident
Belgium Eugenio Castellotti Ferrari 10/36 5th DNF Transmission
France Colin Chapman Vanwall 0/61 5th DNS Injury
Britain Harry Schell Vanwall 86/101 5th DNF Fuel system
Germany Luigi Musso Ferrari 11/22 5th DNF Accident
Italy Jean Behra Maserati 23/50 5th DNF Magneto
Racing with No. 5 in 2012 © AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan

Alonso, in contrast, has featured in the points in all the races he finished starting from P5, recording only a single DNF, which came after a massive first corner shunt caused by Lotus’ Romain Grosjean in the 2012 Belgian GP.

Here’s Alonso’s record whenever he has started from P5 with Ferrari:

Races: 22
Points: 300
Podiums: 14
Wins: 1 (China 2013)
DNFs: 1 (Belgium 2012)


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