Fernando Alonso: How a sandwich wrapper foiled returning champion’s Bahrain GP with Alpine F1

Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Alpine A521 Renault stops within the Pitlane through the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 28, 2021 in Bahrain, Bahrain.

Peter Fox | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Fernando Alonso was pressured into an early retirement on his long-awaited Formula 1 return on the Bahrain GP in weird circumstances — with a discarded sandwich wrapper revealed as the reason for the problem.

The much-lauded two-time champion was excelling on his first F1 weekend since 2018 – qualifying ninth and operating seventh within the early levels of the race — however misplaced tempo after his first pit-stop earlier than having to retire after his second.

Alonso initially informed Sky Sports F1 that there was some “debris on the brake duct” and that it was “unlucky” due to how small the outlet was.

But his Alpine staff mentioned that it was truly a sandwich wrap paper which prompted race-ending overheating points on his automotive.

“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,” mentioned Alpine govt director Marcin Budkowski.

[That] led to excessive temperatures and prompted some harm to the brake system, so we retired him for security causes. It was a very unfortunate first race for Fernando contemplating how robust he seemed.”

Sunday’s season-opener at the Sakhir circuit had fans in attendance after organizers made tickets available to those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who had recovered from the virus. Most of last year’s grands prix were behind closed doors.

“Up till [the retirement] it was enjoyable,” added Alonso to Sky F1’s Natalie Pinkham. “It was a enjoyable race to be on the market, have some battle with my colleagues and hopefully in Imola we can be prepared and take a look at once more.”

Fernando Alonso of Spain and Alpine F1 Team seems on from the grid previous to the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 28, 2021 in Bahrain, Bahrain.

Bryn Lennon | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

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