Abu Dhabi GP: Race team notes – McLaren

An emotional weekend for the whole McLaren team as we bid farewell to Fernando and Stoffel for the final time in Formula 1.

Stoffel put in a valiant effort to keep chasing cars behind him, and crossed the line in 14th place. Fernando executed a solid one-stop strategy and battled through the pack in his customary style to finish just shy of the top 10 in 11th position.

Despite just missing out on a final points-scoring result for the season, the team has secured sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Fernando Alonso: “It has been a very intense and good few days. I think I still need a couple of days to take everything in that I’ve lived and this weekend will always be in my heart. There have been so many nice things prepared for me from Formula 1, from my team and from the fans. I’ve been extremely busy, and didn’t have the right time for myself to think about what was going on.

“Thanks also to Lewis and Sebastian for the nice in-lap all together. It was quite emotional. I have a lot of respect for them, they are great champions and I feel very privileged to have raced with them for most of my career.

“Today it was a good race, focussing on tyre management, fuel saving, and fighting for points until the last lap. All my career I have always been fighting, sometimes in competitive cars, sometimes not, but I’ve never given up. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and for having raced for the best teams in the world.

“Thank you to my fans and all the people who have followed me over the past 18 years. I felt a lot of support and respect for me and this is something I take very seriously. I feel honoured. But, I’m not stopping racing. I love motorsport, so don’t give up on me!”

Stoffel Vandoorne: “No points today to finish the year, but nevertheless it was a pretty good race. I had fun out there today – we knew it was going to be a tough one for us, especially without there being many incidents. We fought very hard and closed in on a couple of cars, and that was a really enjoyable part of the race. I fought like hell to keep cars behind!

“I’m happy with what we did this year with what we had. It’s great to finish the season – today we gave everything and now I’m happy to see the chequered flag.

Unfortunately, we weren’t quick enough for points, but that was always going to be the case. I’m happy with how the race went, I gave it everything.

“It’s time to celebrate a little bit and then time to move on to something fresh. I’m sure tomorrow my head will switch to my new challenge. I’m looking forward to it.”

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: “I want to take this opportunity to congratulate our drivers on a fighting and exciting performance – not only today but for the whole year. There was a lot of wheel-to-wheel action and I think overall we extracted everything we could.

“As I alluded to yesterday, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was very emotional for our whole team. Thank you, Stoffel, for all your dedication and hard work, and everything you’ve done for McLaren. Thank you, Fernando, for being an inspiration to everyone in this team and for your relentless pursuit of greatness, and many congratulations for an incredible and legendary career.

“I also want to thank our partners, sponsors and fans all over the globe. Your messages of encouragement are always well-received and effective!

“Finally, a huge thank you to all of the people who work at McLaren and enable us to be a part of one of the most elite events in the sports world, and represent ourselves with pride, commitment and passion. See you next year!”