And so goes the 2019 Formula One season into the history books. The last nine months have been an incredible rollercoaster, full of heady heights, sheer drops, emotions, passion and, most importantly, hard work by everyone involved in the team.
Our shakedown in Italy, all the way back in February, the first test in Barcelona and the season debut in Melbourne – all these feel like ages ago. And yet, here we are, staring at the end of another exciting season of racing.
2019 gave us reasons to laugh, cry, rejoice and be angry. But it most importantly gave us a lot of lessons. We will go back to Hinwil (not before next week’s test, that is), where work has already long been underway on the 2020 car; we will regroup, study and analyse. We will come back ready for the new challenges ahead.
When the chequered flag fell in Abu Dhabi, it wasn’t just the end of a new season. That flag also marked the start of the new one.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal: “We bring this season to an end with a challenging race, but we won’t let this overshadow the good work we did this year. After yesterday’s qualifying we split the cars’ strategies to maximise the chances of a good result, but in the end the circumstances didn’t play in our favour.
“Still, we can look back at a season in which we scored more points than in 2018 and we have made strides in terms of performance. The midfield is the most competitive it has ever been, but we fought bravely. There is a lot we can learn from this season to come back even stronger next year.”
Kimi Räikkönen, P13: “We did all we could today, so we can keep our head high. Our race pace was better than what we showed in the rest of the weekend and we were in the middle of a few interesting battles. We fought for the points and thought we could get them, but in the end we fell a bit short.
“Now we’ll have a day off, then some testing and the season will finally be over. We learnt a lot from this one and we can use it to improve for next year. It’s impossible to guess where we will be, but we want to come back stronger. We made some steps forward this season but we want more.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, P16: “We fought to have a good result today but we didn’t manage to finish the season with a point. We tried a different strategy as we had to take our chances, starting from the back, although this gamble didn’t pay off.
“It’s been a season in which I learnt a lot of lessons: it will all help me when I get back to the start line in Melbourne. I am happy of the way I improved during the year, both in qualifying and the race, and I am looking forward to taking the next step forward. We will work hard this winter, understand where we can improve and do our best to have an even better season in 2020.”