Alonso's F1 farewell: Then and now - how the grid, teams and calendar have changed since 2001

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Fernando Alonso will contest his final Formula One grand prix in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The McLaren man will leave the sport as a two-time world champion, finishing as a runner-up in the drivers' championship on three further occasions and once coming third.

Alonso has represented Minardi, Renault and Ferrari as well as McLaren in a 17-season stint filled with highs and lows, and will disappointingly exit F1 as he entered it - in a scarcely competitive car. 

Plenty has changed since the Spaniard embarked on his F1 career in 2001, and Omnisport has assessed the contrast between that campaign and the current season.

The Grid

Racing with Minardi, Alonso endured a tough first season in 2001, finishing the year 23rd out of 26 drivers and failing to collect a single point.

Even in a better car the Spaniard would have done well to challenge dominant world champion Michael Schumacher, who won his fourth title at a canter. Kimi Raikkonen finished 10th and Jos Verstappen was 18th.

Fast forward to 2018 and Alonso, now at McLaren, is in 10th place but still a long way off the top of the standings, with Lewis Hamilton following Schumacher in cruising to the title.

Raikkonen, the only other remaining member of the class of 2001, will join Sauber next year, while Verstappen's son Max continues to show promise and is fifth in the standings.


The Teams

The constructors' championship race has altered significantly during Alonso's time in F1, even though still among the frontrunners are Ferrari.

Ferrari were challenged by McLaren, partnered with Mercedes, in 2001. However, Mercedes have since rebooted their own team with great success and lead the way in 2018. Red Bull have also entered the sport, winning the constructors' title four times, and remain determined to trouble the big boys with Verstappen their main man.

Minardi are one of a number of teams who are no more, while Williams and Sauber - third and fourth back then - struggle to keep pace towards the bottom of the standings in 2018.

The Calendar

Expansion of the calendar has been one big change in Alonso's time, with the number of races swelling from 17 to 21.

Alonso debuted at the Australian Grand Prix and that remains the first race of the year, but the Malaysian event that followed left the calendar last year and F1 no longer visits San Marino, while there has been no European GP in 2018.

There are plenty of additions, however, with the sport now in Bahrain, China, Azerbaijan, Singapore, Russia, Mexico and Abu Dhabi, where Alonso will bring the curtain down on his F1 career.