Conspiracy theories run wildfire after Alonso crash

Fernando Alonso's testing crash in his new McLaren-Honda has triggered wild speculation about the cause.

Conspiracy theories run wildfire after Alonso crash
Tyre marks from Fernando Alonso's crash
Tyre marks from Fernando Alonso's crash
Fernando Alonso, McLaren is airlifted from the circuit in a helicopter
Fernando Alonso, McLaren is airlifted from the circuit in a helicopter
Fernando Alonso, McLaren is airlifted from the circuit in a helicopter
Fernando Alonso, McLaren is airlifted from the circuit in a helicopter
Fernando Alonso, McLaren is airlifted from the circuit in a helicopter
Fernando Alonso, McLaren is brought back in to the pits in an ambulance
McLaren await the McLaren MP4-30 of Fernando Alonso, McLaren

So far, McLaren is saying nothing about Fernando Alonso's mysterious accident in testing at Barcelona yesterday, except that it was a "normal" crash necessitating medical checks.

"Fernando's accident was just one of those things that happens in testing," said team boss Eric Boullier.

"Inevitably, some media reports have sought to exaggerate the severity of the incident – it was just a normal testing accident."

However, paddock insiders and eyewitnesses insist that aspects of the Alonso crash remain unexplained.

McLaren did not return to the track on the final day of Barcelona running, despite Boullier admitting the crash had not damaged the MP4-30 "particularly badly".

He added: "It was enough of an impact to warrant quite a lengthy check of the gearbox and power unit systems. Given the time needed to carry out such an analysis, we decided to bring the curtain down on our test a few hours earlier than anticipated."

Not much damage to car

Photos also do not depict heavy damage to the car, despite reports Alonso was initially unresponsive and then had to be sedated for his trip to hospital.

"Why does a photographer report that his head was bent to the side before the crash?" German correspondent Ralf Bach wrote on his blog f1-insider.com.

"And why so much secrecy from McLaren-Honda?"

Sebastian Vettel was travelling directly behind Alonso at the time of the crash, and he said the sight of the slow-moving McLaren suddenly swerving into the wall was "strange".

"It did not look like an accident," he said. "He then bumped a few times down the wall until I lost sight of him."

Wild speculation in Germany

The German newspaper Bild is also asking questions, particularly after F1 newcomer Honda's recent troubles with its electronic energy-recovery systems.

"Was Alonso unconscious or drowsy already because he inhaled toxic battery fumes?" its report speculated. "Did he receive an electric shock?"

Even the authoritative Auto Motor und Sport reported: "Photographers reported that it looked as though Alonso deliberately steered into the wall."

Manager blames gust of wind

Alonso's manager Luis Garcia Abad denied that dizziness could have been the cause of the crash.

"There was a tremendous wind," he told Spanish reporters, "and it pushed him against the wall."

That theory was initially ridiculed by insiders, but Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz also crashed at Turn 3 on Sunday, and he blamed the "very high" and "very inconsistent" wind.

Abad also played down suggestions of suspension or front wing failure, insisting "The impact with the wall caused everything else".

"Everything happened in a normal situation for Formula One," he said.

"Anyway it's not the time to talk about this. There is a man in hospital.

"We have not talked to him (Alonso) about it but we know that everything happened in conditions with a normal car."

As for Vettel's comments that the crash was "strange", Abad answered: "Mr Vettel can say what he wants to say, that's fine."

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