Alpine have confirmed the reason for Fernando Alonso‘s DNF on his return to Formula 1 was due to a sandwich wrapper in the car’s brake duct.
It was the first F1 race for Alonso since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November 2018, which looked set to be his last in the sport, and on his return to the team which he won two World Championships with in 2005 and 2006, fans were eager to see how he would perform.
He showed his qualities back out on track on Saturday in Bahrain, making it through to Q3 and finishing P9, and it looked as though he was set to take some points from the race itself.
That was not to be, though, as he was forced to retire on Lap 34, and the team have since confirmed the reason for that was a sandwich wrapper.
As quoted by Autosport, Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski said: “After his first stop we had a small issue that forced us to reduce the performance of the car, then after the second stop, a sandwich wrap paper got stuck inside the rear brake duct of Fernando’s car.
“This led to high temperatures and caused some damage to the brake system, so we retired him for safety reasons. It was a very unlucky first race for Fernando considering how strong he looked.”
First race of the season ✅.
It was nice and special to feel the adrenaline of the start, first laps etc. enjoyed every moment until we had to stop the car unfortunately . Can’t wait for the next one and keep progressing 💪. @AlpineF1Team 💙#f1 #bahrain #alpine pic.twitter.com/X8zA6TY4kL
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) March 28, 2021
During pre-season testing and the practice sessions, it was not quite clear where Alpine stood among their midfield competitors, with the likes of McLaren and AlphaTauri catching the eye more, but the team would have been pleased to see that, with Alonso, they have a man who has certainly not lost his talents.
He was unsurprisingly disappointed to not finish the race, but until the team called him into the garage, he enjoyed himself in the season opener.
“It was a shame that we could not see the chequered flag because I really enjoyed the whole thing,” said Alonso, as per motorsportweek.com.
“It was nice to be back racing. It was nice to feel again the adrenaline at the starting grid, the national anthem, all these procedures were very emotional today for me.
“The race itself was fun at the beginning with the start, couple of good battles on the track in the first stint and then unfortunately we had to retire the car.”
He added: “I think it was definitely good and interesting to drive finally with some cars around in the same conditions because until now we met a few people on track while testing but always in different moments of your programme.
“So it was definitely good, some action as well into the first laps and the Safety Car restart, things like that.
“We gathered some information that you will understand I will keep for myself and for the team. It was interesting to see compared to the others.”