Alonso on track & Vettel's goodbye: what you missed from the Abu Dhabi GP


F1's 2020 season came to a loud ending in Abu Dhabi, with a throwback providing one of the highlights of the weekend on track


Verstappen took his second win on a straight-forward evening

Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

For 16 races, the 2020 Formula 1 season proved one of the most entertaining in recent memory despite a one-sided championship battle. Unfortunately the season finale didn’t provide one last blast.

Despite the procession at the front, there was plenty going on in and out of the paddock as teams prepare for just over 90 days off after fitting 17 races into just 163 days.

There were several goodbyes in Abu Dhabi with Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat and Sergio Perez set to depart F1, as it currently stands, while Sebastian Vettel made his final appearance for Ferrari ahead of his switch to Aston Martin for 2021.

Here are some of the things you might have missed on the final race weekend of the 2020 F1 season.


Kvyat out, Tsunoda in

Daniil Kvyat, 2020 Abu Dhabi GP

Daniil Kvyat is likely out at AlphaTauri for 2021


Daniil Kvyat admitted in a post-race interview that his time with AlphaTauri is over for now and said the team will be bringing on Yuki Tsunoda according to the Russian.

The team is yet to confirm its 2021 line-up but Kvyat was sure that the Japanese driver would replace him. He added that he had reached a point where he’d like time out from the sport after his third stint with the team.

Tsunoda put together an impressive F2 season in 2020, finishing third in the standings having notched up three victories and ending up 15 points behind champion Mick Schumacher.

He tested with the team at Imola after the Emilia Romagna GP and will be in the AT01 once again during the post-season tests in Abu Dhabi. Crucially though, he has racked up enough superlicence points to qualify for Formula 1.


Vettel’s goodbye

Sebastian Vettel, 2020 Abu Dhabi GP

Vettel leaves the Ferrari garage for the final time

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Six years in red finally came to a close for Sebastian Vettel in Abu Dhabi, and the four-time champion said it was an emotional day after the race, as the dust settled on a difficult season.

Leaving the garage for the final time, the team gave him a guard of honour and after the race, Vettel serenaded his team over team radio to the tune of Azzurro by Adriano Celentano.

Related article

It was a lovely end to his stint with the team despite missing out on that drivers’ title that he had targeted since his move from Red Bull. Images of him handing out beers to the mechanics in the paddock will be the last sight of Vettel in Ferrari colours.

The team presented him with a sizeable trophy to mark his successes with them, which he lifted alongside his team-mate, Charles Leclerc.

Although the Monégasque driver made his final seasons much tougher at Ferrari, Vettel presented Leclerc with his own gift, a signed crash helmet with a personalised message. Leclerc handed over his own tribute; his race helmet that was dedicated to the Aston Martin-bound Seb.


Return of the R25

Fernando Alonso, 2020 Abu Dhabi GP

Alonso’s Renault demo runs attracted a lot of attention

Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images

Fernando Alonso wasn’t the only returning Renault icon in the Abu Dhabi paddock over the weekend. The French team wheeled out the 2005 championship-winning R25 for ‘demonstration’ runs throughout the three days, not that you’d know it from the two-time champion’s showing.

Fitted with slick Pirelli rubber rather than the grooved Michelin tyres of old, Alonso hardly held back during his hot laps in his car, attacking each corner minus the trademark handfuls of steering lock that worked the car so well back in ’05.

It attracted the attention of almost everybody in the paddock, downing tools on whatever the task at hand was to go and see the action out on the track.

Related article

There was a point in the weekend in which world champion Lewis Hamilton paused an interview in the paddock to take in the noise as Alonso thrashed his championship Renault around the Yas Marina Circuit, V10 screams bouncing off of the hotel walls.

Watching the laps both onboard and trackside made for one of the highlights of the weekend, if not the highlight after a dreary Sunday night.

With Honda pulling out and questions still flying around over what F1 should do with its engine regulations, has the answer been put on a plate right under its nose?

Probably not but it was a great sight all the same.


Team leader to the end

Sergio Perez, 2020 Abu Dhabi GP

Perez’s final Racing Point outing didn’t end as hoped


Sergio Perez’s final outing with Racing Point did not go according to plan as the Mexican’s race ended after just 10 laps as his Mercedes engine expired.

It was a cruel ending to a great Formula 1 career as things stand, with Perez still without a seat for next year; his only hope remains getting the nod to partner Max Verstappen at Red Bull in 2021.

Related article

Following his maiden victory in Bahrain the weekend before, it was a bitter pill to swallow, especially with the team’s hopes of securing third in the constructors’ standings fading as a result of the retirement.

Back in the paddock, his mechanics took it just as hard as Perez. After arriving back in the pits, Perez consoled his team of mechanics despite the disappointing ending.

Having been with the team since 2014 under its Force India guise, Perez signs off from F1 as the second most successful Mexican driver of all time and the nation’s only grand prix winner alongside Pedro Rodriguez.