Fernando Alonso's Formula 1 return was ruined by a sandwich wrapper, Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski has revealed.
Following a two-year hiatus from the sport, Alonso was in the hunt for points with his new team in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix when he was forced to retire on lap 32 of the 56-lap race with overheating rear brakes.
A post-race inspection later revealed the sandwich cover inside the brake ducts, ending what Alonso had described as "fun" given the battles he was enjoying on track.
Budkowksi 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, which 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."
Describing what unfolded as "unfortunate", a philosophical Alonso added: "The race was fun until that point.
"The start, the first couple of laps, some battles with my old colleagues I did enjoy, but obviously I'm disappointed not to see the chequered flag."
Asked whether he was at least hopeful for the rest of the season, Alonso added: "I think we still need to improve. It's very close in the midfield, a couple of tenths [of a second] changes a lot of positions.
"We will have to fine-tune things and execute to perfection every race because more mistakes can cost a lot of positions in qualifying and in the race, so it's going to be a very interesting season for you to watch."
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