Abu Dhabi GP 2023
NOVEMBER 26, 2023
Sunday Team Quotes
Oracle Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen (1st):
Sergio Perez (4th):
Christian Horner, Sporting Director:
Charles Leclerc (2nd): "Today, I had a very good car and the strategy was the right one. I could have pushed hard for many laps on the Medium tyres and my second place was never in danger. Unfortunately, in the end, Checo’s (Perez) five second penalty cost us a lot. Towards the end I tried to help him to build a gap over George (Russell) so that he could wipe out the penalty and finish ahead of the Mercedes, which would have put us ahead of them in the classification. However, looking back at the season, we can say it has been positive. We started the year with a car that we could not push to the limit. We knew what the problem was, but it took a while to change things. From Japan onwards my Ferrari became a very different car, capable of very good results. Unfortunately, over the course of the year there were several occasions when we were in a strong position but left points on the table: I’m thinking of my retirement in Bahrain when I was third, or in Brazil, where I qualified on the front row but I never actually started the race. I hope that, over the winter, we will be able to put everything we have learned to good use in order to be competitive right from the start of next season. We want to give something back to our fans for all their continued support."
Carlos Sainz (18th): "Not the way we wanted to finish the season, with a very tough double-header on my side in Las Vegas and here in Abu Dhabi. The race today was never going to be easy. The first stint on the Hard was risky and it didn’t go to plan. From there on our race was a bit compromised and we waited for a Safety Car that never came. It hurts badly to miss P2 in the Constructors but there have been plenty of positives throughout the year and we will of course work on the things we could’ve done better. I want to thank the entire team, here and back home in Maranello, for their incredible effort all season long and also send a massive thank you to every single fan for their relentless support. We will regroup during the winter and come back stronger next year. Grazie a tutti e Forza Ferrari sempre."
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: "We are happy to have finished a far from easy season with a solid performance from Charles. Unfortunately, Carlos’ weekend took a turn for the worse starting from Friday and it’s a shame he was unable to bring home the three points but it’s not today that we lost second place in the Constructors’. Clearly, as Ferrari, we’re never that interested in finishing second, but it would still have been a reward for everyone who worked hard at the track and those who always gave it everything they had back in Maranello ever since the SF-23 first rolled out onto the Fiorano track. But the whole group can be pleased with how it reacted and fought back in the second part of the season. After the summer break that followed the Dutch Grand Prix, we made constant progress, to the point that we are the only team apart from Red Bull to have won a race. Charles ended the season with a string of strong performances and Carlos also had some very positive races including that Singapore win of course. The curtain comes down on Tuesday after the test and we are already looking ahead to the next one. We are determined to continue with the progress we have demonstrated over the past ten races."
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
George Russell (3rd): "Today's result means a huge amount and I'm really pleased we've secured P2 for the team. There are so many people back at the factory in Brackley and Brixworth, who have worked so hard to achieve this. It's been a really challenging season for us. I've let the side down a couple of times this year so I'm pleased to bring it across the line today. It was really intense at the end and so close with Perez, his pace was just great. I thought Charles was going to back me up but respect to him for keeping it clean. I'm happy to end the season this way with a podium."
Lewis Hamilton (9th): "I'm happy for the team that we've managed to secure P2 in the Constructor's Championship, it was a great effort by the team at track and both in Brackley and Brixworth. But we're not we're we want to be yet, we want to be competing for the championship and race wins and this weekend showed that we need to dig deep and work hard during the winter to get back to where we want to be and come back stronger next year. I hope everyone at the factory is happy with the result today and I'm grateful for all the hard work the team has put into this season, it's been a long and tough year for us."
Toto Wolff, Team Principal: "It was a fight for P2 in the Constructor's Championship up until the very end and so close and today feels like we've won. George's driving was exceptional and Charles showed true sportsman-like behaviour, not trying to slow down. Two great teams and brands that fought until the end. The fight for P2 in the Constructor's in a way was so positive for us and a huge reward for the whole team to be vice champion, but it's also a big motivation to do better next year and that's what we will focus on now. We have so much good things in the pipeline, so much new things and with all the learning we had I am really, really in a good place to see what's coming together. We've got to take the momentum now from the third place here, P2 in the championship and then take that into the factories. We're vice champions and that's a good one to take home - we got to reach for the stars and that's going to happen, I promise."
Andrew Shovlin: "Well done to everyone in Brackley and Brixworth for securing P2 in the championship. It's not our ultimate goal but we started this year in a really challenging position with an awful lot of work to do, the team and the drivers have dug in, stuck together and it's some consolation that we have at least come out of it best of the rest. The race was very difficult, we had 58 laps of not knowing which way it was going to go and in the end it was down to the finest of margins. The strategy group did a brilliant job of staying calm, taking some aggressive decisions on the undercuts and making sure that we'd done enough by the chequered flag. We had a one on one pitstop race with McLaren at the first stop and coming out ahead in that was a big part of ending up close enough to Leclerc to score the points needed so that was a really key moment. It's nice to finish the season ahead of Ferrari but we're under no illusion of the gap ahead is large and the whole team is focused on closing down that gap. We will work hard ahead of next season and give it our best to make that happen."
BWT Alpine F1 Team
Esteban Ocon (12th): “That’s a wrap on the 2023 season and it was not the best of races from us to finish the year. We simply seemed to lack pace today and, unfortunately, we finished outside of the points in twelfth place. On my side we opted for the one-stop strategy and we fell short of the top ten. We have a lot to review from this race and a lot to analyse from what has been an inconsistent and up and down season. We did not reach the objectives we set ourselves at the beginning of the year and it is time for us to debrief, regroup and focus on key areas of improvement. I have no doubt we will come back stronger and hungrier than ever to improve all together as a team to put ourselves in a better position next year. We have the test on Tuesday and after that it is time to rest before firmly setting our sights on 2024. Thank you to the team and all the fans for their unconditional support this year. I already cannot wait for lights out in Bahrain.”
Pierre Gasly (13th): “For us, that is not the way we wanted to end the season, where, unfortunately we finished today’s race outside of the points. It was a frustrating afternoon. After a good start, I was hit by Checo [Perez] and then later by Lewis [Hamilton] and we had quite a lot of damage to the rear of the car, which we carried for a lot of the race. I saw the damage afterwards and it’s quite extensive! It was a difficult race from there and we have things to review, lots to learn, as we probably did not optimise everything where scoring some points could have been possible. In terms of the season, I have really enjoyed joining the Alpine family. It has been a mixed season on track, but from where started in Bahrain, we are in a much better place now and that is really positive and encouraging. Thanks to everyone at Enstone, Viry and at the track for their immense work and I’m confident next year we can be so much stronger.”
Bruno Famin, Interim Team Principal: “This is the conclusion of the 2023 season, a year in which we’ve had some very good moments, but also too many low ones. Ultimately, we did not achieve what we had set out. Today was a tough race for both cars and we have much to review to see what we could have done better even if it had no bearing on our championship outcome. I have been pleased with what I have seen in the second part of the season. Right now, as a team, we will take some time over the off-season to reflect and review everything and implement the necessary changes and game plan ahead of 2024. I would like to thank the entire team and the drivers for their hard work, dedication and ambition throughout a challenging campaign and we will undoubtedly come back in 2024 with even more hunger to achieve our goals.”
McLaren F1 Team
Lando Norris (5th): "Tough race! Not the pace that we wanted but we did what we could to score important points to finish the season. We lost out a position in the pit stop so a little bit of a shame, but otherwise, I think I did what I could, we were just not quite strong enough today. Overall, we can be happy with how everything has gone because we’ve done what we needed to do as a team by securing P4 in the Constructors’ Championship. We have had plenty of ups from the start of the season, the last few months have been great for the team, and we’ll take that momentum into the winter to come back stronger next year. Thank you to all the team at track and back at MTC who have worked hard this season to give us a car which is able to compete towards the front of the grid. We have made some memories this year and I'm looking forward to pushing on together in 2024."
Oscar Piastri (6th): "It was a slightly tricky day today, but P4 in the Constructors’ is still a very good effort. We know we want to aim for more than that next year, but I’ve enjoyed my first year of F1 a hell of a lot. There’s been some great highlights, some trickier moments but it’s all part of the experience. I’m looking forward to some time off now. Thank you to the team trackside and in Woking, thank you to all the fans for sticking with us on our rollercoaster this year and we’ll be back fighting for more next year."
Andrea Stella, Team Principal: "We would have liked to finish on the podium for the final race of the season, but today we simply didn’t have enough pace. This doesn’t detract from this having been an incredible season. It has been an amazing turnaround which was made possible by everybody’s hard work. To finish fourth in the Championship with nine podiums, achieve a victory in the Sprint race, three more podiums in the Sprint race, two pole positions in the Sprint Shootout, and deliver the fastest pit stop in history is a great achievement for the team. All of this was made possible by the work, commitment, effort and the talent of the men and women at McLaren and our colleagues at HPP. I am so proud and so thankful to all team members. This is a strong foundation for the future, and we can’t wait to confirm this next season. Thanks to our fans, sponsors and partners that have been so supportive and enthusiastic. We are on this journey together and we look forward to the next phase."
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake
Guanyu Zhou (17th): "Not the best result to end the season, but at least we went out there and tried everything we could. I’m not overly surprised by our pace today, as the feeling of the car and the pace were consistent with yesterday in qualifying: we just didn’t have enough pace in these conditions. It’s the end of a long season and a hard one: we finish with some good memories, like Sunday in Doha or our qualifying in Budapest, but the knowledge we need to do more for 2024. So many people have worked hard to get us racing and deserve our gratitude: the mechanics, technicians and engineers and all here at the track; the boys and girls in Hinwil; and our partners at Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. I want to thank Alfa Romeo for all they’ve done for us, and for the two years I spent with them: it’s such a legendary brand and I wish them well. We know next year will be a fresh start: the team back in Hinwil is working hard, our new car will be completely new and I am looking forward to trying it. The margins will still be small, so making a step forward will allow us to battle for much better positions. Now it’s important for all of us to catch a bit of a breather, recover after this long season and come back with fresh energies to tackle next year. For me, now it’s the chance to go back to Shanghai, which I don’t get to do often, and spend some time with my family and my friends: and to prepare to be in the best possible condition for next year.”
Valtteri Bottas (19th): “Unfortunately, we just didn’t have enough pace tonight. We tried two different strategies on the cars, and I went for one stop, but the tyres eventually began to wear off and we just couldn’t make the progress we needed. Ultimately, that has been the story of this season – we never quite had enough raw pace to put up a decent challenge and constantly achieve points finishes. It’s definitely been a long season, for all of us both trackside and back home in Hinwil, and I am glad to be getting some time away from the track now, to reset and recharge. I want to thank everyone who has been working hard all this time – the crew here at the track, our home team in Switzerland, and Ferrari – for all they have done. I also want to thank Alfa Romeo for these years, and wish them well for the future: I'm proud to have been part of their history. Now, the focus switches to 2024: the concept of next year’s car, for what I have seen, is interesting, and we will be working hard throughout the winter to come back stronger next season.”
Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative: “The most important thing to say today, after such a long and tough season, is to thank Alfa Romeo for six successful seasons together. Of course, we didn’t reach all the targets we had set for ourselves, but today we want to pay tribute to a partner that has been instrumental to the growth of our team, that joined us in 2017 when few would have any trust in our future. Now, if we can look to the future with confidence and with a strong foundation is also thank to Alfa Romeo and to the people within their company who helped us as a team. The first thought is for Sergio Marchionne and, today, for Jean Philippe Imparato and all his team. Tonight’s race reflected our season in full: in the end, the constructors’ championship position corresponds to the pace we were able to show. We need to keep our heads down, knowing we need to work hard and make use of the lessons we learnt to improve. The biggest one is that we need to work as a team each day, having confidence in our people and in our work, but knowing that nobody will give us anything for free. This is important: it’s the end of a season tonight, but the start of a new one tomorrow. In next week’s test, we will need to collect as much data as we can to fix our issues. I want to thank all the people working both here and in Hinwil for their hard work this season, and our partners at Ferrari for their support throughout the year: also, even though I never spoke about myself, I want to thank everyone for letting me represent them, hoping I did so in the best possible way – in the good days and in the bad. The race has been very tough. We saw the pace was not enough to compete for the points: it’s how it went, but as we say goodbye to our fans, we want to let them know we will be working really hard to come back stronger.”
Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team
Fernando Alonso (7th): "If you’d told me before this weekend that I’d finish fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, I wouldn’t have believed you – so this is a real gift. I’m really pleased with the way I’ve driven all season – I think this has been my best, most consistent season of driving since 2012. I think I got the maximum from the car all season. The whole Aston Martin team has worked incredibly hard and I am already looking forward to going into the winter and starting work for next season. We started this year as an underdog, but we’ll start 2024 very much in the spotlight; we need to be ready for that. Finally, a big thank-you and well-done to everybody on the team – this year has far exceeded all our wildest expectations and every single person should be proud of what we’ve achieved."
Lance Stroll (10th): “We elected to start the race on the Hard tyre and put in a long stint hoping for a Safety Car and a quick stop, but it didn’t play out like that, so we ended up running a two-stop strategy. Nevertheless, I think we were attacking well today and making progress throughout the field. We do tend to have better pace on a Sunday, and that was definitely the case today. I’m pleased that we finished 2023 with some stronger performances that we can be proud of. It’s definitely been a year of learning – we’ve had ups and downs – but we’re in a good place heading into next year.”
Mike Krack, Chief Operating Officer: “I am pleased we could end this successful season with both cars inside the points. There were not too many opportunities in a race with no retirements and things pretty much played out in pace order. We did what we could, jumping [Yuki] Tsunoda with Fernando to finish seventh, and Lance made up three places to score the final point. As I reflect on the season, I see only the positives and the huge progress we made compared to last year. We have enjoyed some special days, especially in the early part of the season, and we came back strong in the recent races. Full credit to Red Bull Racing and Max [Verstappen] for the high standards and new records they have set. To win 21 races in a season is a remarkable achievement and can only act as motivation for us to close the gap ahead of 2024. It has been our best season to date as a team – scoring 280 v 55 last season. I would like to thank everyone trackside and at the AMRTC for all the hard work. Also to our fans and all our partners – without their support we could not have achieved this progress.”
Haas F1 Team
Nico Hulkenberg (15th): “The positives for me are how I’ve felt during this season. My hunger to drive, to be competing in Formula 1, be back in the competition, that’s been really fun and good. Even with the difficult Sundays, I’ve been enjoying it and I’m hungry for more, so that’s positive news. Otherwise, today was the story of the season, we just don’t have enough pace. Degradation wasn’t necessarily the problem today, it was just pace, we couldn’t keep up with the faster cars. We’ve put it to bed now and hopefully we’ll have some better tools next year.”
Kevin Magnussen (20th): “I think the only positive today is that it was the last race. We can close this season now and look forward to next year. It’s not been a good year for us, we haven’t developed at the rate we should’ve, or at all. We started the year in an okay position, but we lost out to the competition in the development race. It’s going to be a big winter for us to catch up, but I believe we can do it.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal: “It’s been a tough season for us, which started well but didn’t get any better, as everyone else got better. We ended up fighting all season, so now we need to work hard over the winter to get a better car out there as there are a lot of things within this team that are good. We’ve got a race team which is always ready to race, and a team who wants to do well, we just need to get better with the performance of the car – then we will be okay. It’s not an easy task but everyone is rolling their sleeves up and working hard to achieve it.”
Yuki Tsunoda (8th): “Thanks to everyone for voting me Driver of the Day. It was a tough race. At one point, I thought we could finish in the top six. It didn’t work, but we don’t regret staying out and trying the one-stop strategy. I gave it my all, and I’m happy with myself. It was an enjoyable season overall. We struggled with car performance at the start, but we were able to step it up throughout the season. Although we didn’t achieve P7 in the Constructors’ Championship, we improved from P10 to P8 in the final part of the season, all thanks to the team in Bicester and Faenza. At the same time, there were a couple of mistakes I made that cost us, especially in Mexico. Well done to Williams. They deserve it, and I enjoyed the battle we had. Thank you to Franz. I enjoyed the last three years, and I will definitely miss him. Without his advice on how to improve, I wouldn’t have been able to progress as much in my Formula 1 career. I appreciate him, and I know we’ll keep in touch.”
Daniel Ricciardo (11th): “It wasn’t a bad race. We had a decent pace, but as soon as you get into a little dirty air, it’s hard. Just like today, there have been a couple of races where, if we had one more lap, I feel like we could’ve gotten a few more points, but starting further back put us on the back foot slightly. It's good that Yuki got some points, but we needed a little more, so it would’ve been nice if I could’ve scored some too. Part of me is happy to go on a break to prepare for a full season, but I would also like to continue racing. It’s exciting having a proper off-season and knowing I want to be here. I was happy with the races I’ve done. Shoutout to Franz. He’s been a big part of the team and obviously, very early in my career he played a big role. It was nice to be able to spend his last races together. I wish him well, and I know he’ll be missed by the whole team. Even today, everyone is celebrating him, and all he wanted to do was go racing, so it shows the person he is. I hope he enjoys his time away from the track as much as he enjoyed it racing week after week, with the same amazing passion.”
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "We started with Yuki in the sixth position and with Daniel in P15. Both of them had a good start and didn’t lose any positions on the first lap. We split our cars on the strategy side, opting for a one-stop with Yuki and a two-stop for Daniel. In the end, it was the wrong decision, because I think with a two-stop strategy we could’ve finished P6 or at least P7 with Yuki, as he was faster than other competitors that overtook him in the final laps. Therefore, we ended the season in P8 in the Constructors’ Championship and of course, it’s disappointing because our target was to finish P7. There are still some positives to take on the aerodynamic side, as the new floor worked quite well, which is a good indication for next year’s car. As this was my last race, I want to take the opportunity to thank all the Formula 1 fans for their support, the FIA, FOM, all the Formula 1 teams, Honda, Pirelli, and everyone with whom we had good cooperation with over the last 18 years, and obviously my team and all the drivers I was lucky enough to work with. I wish them all a successful future.”
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer: "Heading into the race, the objective was to outscore Williams by 8 points for P7 in the Constructors'. To do this, we needed to finish P6 or higher in the race with one car or P7 and P9 with the two cars. It was a big ask given the starting position of Yuki, because he had three fast cars starting behind him. We knew it would be challenging to achieve the result on pace alone, so we tried to make it work with strategy. Tyres were looking good in the first stint, so we went for the one-stop with Yuki. After a suspected tear-off in the brake duct, we converted Daniel to what was an aggressive two-stop. Both drivers did a fantastic job throughout the race, but in the end, we didn't quite have enough pace to score the required points. Whatever strategy we could've chosen wouldn't have been enough to overtake Williams. I know everyone is relieved it's the end of the season, but for our team, it's fair to say we would've loved one more race! It's been a long season, and in the first races, we were one of the slowest cars on the grid. The credit is due to everyone in Bicester and Faenza for never giving up, pushing hard with the development and turning our competitiveness around, so we end the season with the fifth to sixth quickest car. With Yuki in P1 for a few laps, today marked only the second time in history that a Japanese driver has led a Formula 1 race and only the sixth time Franz has seen one of his cars lead a Grand Prix, which is a nice way to say goodbye. It was Franz's last race leading our team, and speaking on behalf of everyone, it has been an absolute pleasure to work for him. I've never met someone with such a love of the race track and as passionate about racing as Franz, and he will be sorely missed. We wish him all the best for the future."
Alexander Albon (14th): "My race was okay; I don’t think it was the best following a bad start, but we seemed to recover for the second and third stint. Unfortunately, Yuki [Tsunoda] was too fast for us to have any involvement in his race, however it’s been the hard work across the year that’s allowed us to seal P7 in the Constructors’ Championship. Congratulations to the team, including everyone at track and back at the factory. Looking at the progress we’ve made, it’s a great achievement. I’m also very proud of my performance, so I’ll give myself credit for what has been my strongest year in Formula 1. The connection I have with the team has allowed us to execute the season well, even when we’ve been fighting race after race to hold our positions. Looking to next year, we’ve got a challenge ahead of us but I’m already excited for what’s to come."
Logan Sargeant (16th): "Firstly, congratulations to the entire team at track and back at Grove for claiming P7 in the Constructors’ Championship. Everyone has worked incredibly hard all year round to earn this achievement. I was unfortunate not to get a position or two off the start. Other than that, we missed a bit of pace. Purposely we didn’t optimise strategy to try and hold back Daniel [Ricciardo] as long as we could. I was proud of the defence I put up against him for a few laps to contribute to helping the team today. I enjoyed the end on fresh Hard tyres, coming back through the field doing Quali lap after Quali lap. From a personal point of view, it’s been another strong weekend. Obviously yesterday was unfortunate with the track limits but once again I’ve had the pace of what the car was capable of and I’m proud of that. There’s been tough times and good times during my rookie season. This back half of this season I’ve really found some momentum. My race pace has been on a very upward trajectory and Qualifying pace is starting to come together. I’m proud of the resilience I’ve had all year, I’ve never given in. I kept pushing and improving and I couldn’t have spent this season with a better group of people."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: "The race was difficult today, especially after Alex suffered a poor start and lost five places immediately. Fortunately, he was able to recover and complete a strong strategy, showing good pace on the Hard compound. Logan followed a similar strategy and was able to fight with Daniel [Ricciardo] before pitting and finishing strong with a series of good overtakes. We weren’t able to race directly with AlphaTauri today but given that we haven’t updated the car since mid-season, the fact that we have kept them at bay over the last eight races is testament to us scoring well when the car was competitive, and we continued to compete during the flyaway events even as they brought upgrades to their car. It is always difficult to defend a lead and allow yourself to be out developed by rivals, but this was a conscious decision that will reap reward over the coming years. The fact that we were able to hold 7th place in the Constructors’ Championship is down to the continued hard work and attention to detail from the whole team, both at the track and throughout the entire Company back in Grove. Today itself was not spectacular but as the culmination of a strong season, it marks a clear upturn in our performance and lays the foundations for the coming years. We now look forward to the final day of testing on Tuesday. Alex and Logan will share one car with Franco and Zak splitting the day in the other car. The trackside team will then take a well-earned rest before we complete the preparations for the Bahrain test and the launch of FW46."