For the third time in the last six seasons, after winning back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006, Alonso missed out by a narrow margin following Sunday's pulsating Brazilian Grand Prix.
In 2007 it was by a single point to Kimi Raikkonen; in 2010 it was by four to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, and this season he has ended up three behind the German again, with the 25-year-old becoming the youngest driver in the sport to win three titles.
It was agonising stuff for Alonso as the conditions at Interlagos, as drizzle and then light rain fell, played havoc, turning the race into a lottery at the end of which the Spaniard again walked away empty handed after finishing second to race-winner Jenson Button.
With Vettel sixth, it was enough for him to keep his nose in front of Alonso who has enjoyed 13 trips to the podium this year.
Only two of those, however, were for race wins as a Ferrari that steadily developed after starting life in the slow lane was never quick enough come the end to cope with Vettel and Red Bull.
"For the future we need to improve the car," said Alonso.
"We have the best team in terms of approaching and preparing for the races, we've had zero mechanical problems this season, and we've had good pitstops, good starts, good strategy, but we were too slow.
"We were behind the Red Bulls, the McLarens, and in the last couple of grands prix, behind Williams and Force India. We were clearly slower than them in pace.
"So this is something we must improve next year because we cannot fight for a world championship if we are too slow. We can be a little slower, but not that much.
"This year there was something strange, combinations that allowed us to fight until the end, but I'm not sure we'll be this lucky in the future."
Despite missing out on the championship, and regardless of his two titles with Renault in the middle of the last decade, Alonso can honestly proclaim this season to be "by far the best" of his career.
"I'm very satisfied. It's a very good feeling I have now," added Alonso.
"In Abu Dhabi two years ago it was a very frustrating feeling because we had the title in our hands and we lost it.
"Now it is completely the opposite. I'm so proud and I'm so happy to have fought until the last lap with the package we had.
"That is the best thing for me, to feel proud of myself, and I will remember 2012 like some dream season.
"Obviously we didn't achieve the points needed to win the title, but I won so many things this year, so much respect from everybody."