Fernando Alonso made an eventful start to his season at the Bahrain Grand Prix. He qualified inside the top 10 in a car that was arguably not quick enough to allow that.
He challenged for points in the race and had a strong first stint but then eventually suffered from a loss in performance. It saw him drop down the order as the race went on.
After the race, however, Alpine's executive director Marcin Budkowski revealed Fernando Alonso had to turn down the performance of the car because of a small issue after the first round of pitstops. He would then suffer even more when a food wrapper got stuck in his brake duct that caused his retirement from the race.
"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," Budkowski said.
"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 Alonso considering how strong he looked."
"It was great to be back racing in Formula 1" - Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso, on his part, was buzzing with excitement after finishing a competitive first weekend with the team.
"Firstly, it was great to be back racing in Formula 1," Fernando Alonso said. "The start was fun, we gained some places and I had some enjoyable battles with old colleagues. However, it was disappointing to not see the chequered flag in the end.
"The issue we had after the second stop was a rear brake issue as some debris entered the brake ducts and overheated the temperatures of the car.
"Looking at the race it was very close in the midfield, and just a couple of tenths seems to change the order quite significantly. I think it's going to be a very interesting and competitive season to watch. We'll go again and fight hard in Imola."
Alpine had a disappointing first weekend in Bahrain and it became quite evident that the car still needs to make some progress to fight regularly in the midfield.