ABU DHABI, November 2 – Two-times world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso said farewell to Renault with a solid if disappointing drive to 14th in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – and then expressed confidence in the future he faces at Ferrari.
Despite seeing the two Ferraris, driven by Finn Kimi Raikkonen and Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, finish 12th and 16th in the inaugural day-night race at the Yas Marina Circuit, Alonso said he remained bullish about his prospects.
And he explained he felt no concern at joining a team that has struggled all season to run competitively against his former McLaren team.
Alonso, 28, said: "It is not how I wanted to finish my time with Renault, but it is not worse or better than we expected. Now I have to think of the future.
"In this season, I think both McLaren and Ferrari started badly. They were at the back – McLaren started even worse than Ferrari, but they did a very good job and now they have maybe the best car.
"Here, they were very dominant all weekend and in Brazil also, starting near the back, Hamilton finished on the podium. Really, it is a very quick car.
"But they (McLaren and Ferrari) went with different philosophies. McLaren were pushing with some developments this year, and Ferrari did not.
"So, next year, it will be a completely new start for everybody – starting from zero. We have to wait and see which one of the two will have a better car.
"It does not matter too much what you do in the last races. We saw with Renault last year, I finished second in Brazil – and you expect then that Renault will be very strong the following year.
"But we did not get the maximum this year. So every year, every first year of the championship, is a complete unknown for everybody.
"Until the first race next year, we will not know what is going to happen, but I am happy that my future team stopped development (of the current car) earlier – because I am sure there will be some benefit.
"Plus Renault stopped earlier. I fully understand their decision and hopefully they can have a good car next year as well."
Looking back, he said he had enjoyed "the most amazing seven years" of his career with Renault.
"The result today is disappointing, as we were not able to produce the performance we wanted. I would have liked to finish the season on a high, especially as this was my last race with Renault.
"But I would like to thank the entire team for everything that we have achieved together over the years. We had some great victories and won championships together. It has been the most amazing seven years of my career and something I will never forget."