STRONG winds are being blamed for torpedoing two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso’s comeback bid after it emerged that a sandwich wrapper got stuck in one of his brake ducts during the 2021 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Alpine F1 driver, who was in the running for a top 10 finish, was forced to retire after his brakes overheated on Sunday.
During the post-race analysis, the team discovered that a discarded sandwich wrapper had got stuck inside the rear brake duct of Alonso’s car.
“After the second pit stop, a sandwich wrap paper got stuck inside the rear brake duct of Fernando’s car which led to high temperatures and caused some damage to the brake system, so we retired him for safety reasons,” said Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski.
The Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir witnessed one of its windiest race days as air currents of up to 34kmph drew sand and debris on to the track.
“There are detailed procedures in place for marshals to ensure waste is disposed of safely,” a BIC spokesperson told the GDN.
“As you will have seen, it was an extremely windy day, so difficult to know where this packaging will have come from.”
Kai Miethig, an environmentalist who volunteered as a flag marshal during the Grand Prix weekend, said before each race the track is cleaned properly and inspected afterwards to confirm no obstacles are on the track.
“Nevertheless, nature events like wind can cause some interference by blowing loose items on the track.
“Alonso’s incident shows how a small, light item can cause big trouble. So, cleanliness is required everywhere, not only on the track but also in the surrounding areas and nature.”
Despite the unfortunate turn of events, Alonso remains in high spirits for the rest of the season, noting his “enjoyable battles with old colleagues.”