Fernando Alonso bemoaned yet another reliability problem as his time with Alpine drew to a disappointing close in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The Spaniard’s second year back with the Enstone-based team took a major downturn in the final third of the campaign, partly due to issues with his car and also the internal dynamic since he announced at the start of the summer break he would be joining Aston Martin for 2023.
The first retiree from the season’s finale at Yas Marina, Alonso coasted into the pits under instruction from the team on lap 28 for his fourth retirement in the last seven races.
But as the 41-year-old pointed out afterwards, the difficulties date back much longer, all the way back to Saudi Arabia in March, and he has ended 2022 ninth in the Drivers’ standings with 81 points, the same total as last year – and a much lower tally than would have reflected his competitiveness.
“Unfortunately, another engine problem,” Alonso told media including PlanetF1. “It has been a little bit the summary of the year. Unfortunately, in Car 14 always these things happen, so one more.
“I’m happy that [the season] has finished. There are facts that this year they have been against us a little bit in Car 14, six DNFs. But also others that didn’t count as a DNF but they were DNF, like Australia a qualifying problem, the sprint in Austria I didn’t even start and things like that.
“I think there are nine or 10 reliability issues, which at this level is obviously not acceptable and they all happened to my car.
“So I’m happy to finish and start tomorrow the seat fit with Aston, Tuesday the tyre test and hopefully a new project with more luck.”
There was one positive for Alonso in that Alpine held on to fourth position in the Constructors’ championship by 14 points from McLaren after his team-mate Esteban Ocon finished seventh in Abu Dhabi.
Asked if he still owed Alpine some credit for providing the platform for his comeback after two years away, the two-time former World Champion replied: “The frustration of today is there and nothing I can do, but I’m very grateful and I will always think of Alpine or Renault with good memories.
“We won two championships, I spent nine years of my life in Formula 1 with Renault or Alpine, so I will be thankful always and wishing them the best of luck next year.”
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher