McLaren rule out mechanical failure in Alonso crash, blame put on strong winds
McLaren have pinned the blames for Fernando Alonso’s heavy accident at the Circuit de Catalunya yesterday on strong winds, adding that the team
McLaren have pinned the blames for Fernando Alonso’s heavy accident at the Circuit de Catalunya yesterday on strong winds, adding that the team “categorically state(s) that there is no evidence that indicates that Fernando’s car suffered mechanical failure of any kind”.
Shortly before the lunch break during the final day of the second pre-season test, Alonso lost control of his McLaren Honda MP4-30 at Turn Three. A heavy impact with the barriers followed and after being transferred to the circuit medical centre the Spaniard was airlifted to hospital where tests revealed no injury.
McLaren later said that Alonso has suffered a concussion and was being kept in hotspital overnight for observation. That stay is set to be extended to a second night, with McLaren stating that “in order to provide the privacy and tranquillity required to facilitate a peaceful recuperation, he is being kept in hospital for further observation, and to recover from the effects of the medication that successfully managed his routine sedation yesterday”.
Following the crash there had been speculation that there was more to Alonso’s crash than a simple loss of control. Sebastian Vettel, who was following the Spaniard on track at the time said the crash was “strange”, while Spanish newspaper AS quoted a trackside photographer as saying that Alonso was unresponsive for some time after the crash.
McLaren and Alonso’s management have moved quickly to quash such rumours however, with the Spaniard’s manager Luis Garcia Abad tweeting a picture of Alonso in hospital giving the thumbs up.
McLaren, meanwhile, issued a sytatement emphatically blaming high winds at the circuit for the crash. Similar high winds were blamed for an off yesterday at the same corner involving Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
“Over the past 24 hours, we have been carrying out a detailed analysis of the damage to Fernando’s car, and its associated telemetry data, in order fully to understand the cause, or causes, of his accident. Even at this early stage, we have been able to reach some firm conclusions,” read the team’s statement.
“His car ran wide at the entry to Turn Three – which is a fast uphill right-hander – allowing it to run onto the Astroturf that lines the outside of the track. A consequent loss of traction caused a degree of instability, spitting it back towards the inside of the circuit, where it regained traction and struck the wall side-on.
“Our findings indicate that the accident was caused by the unpredictably gusty winds at that part of the circuit at that time, and which had affected other drivers similarly (eg, Carlos Sainz Jnr),” it added.
“We can categorically state that there is no evidence that indicates that Fernando’s car suffered mechanical failure of any kind. We can also confirm that absolutely no loss of aerodynamic pressure was recorded, which fact indicates that the car did not suffer any aerodynamic loss, despite the fact that it was subjected to a significant level of g-force. Finally, we can also disclose that no electrical discharge or irregularity of any kind occurred in the car’s ERS system, either before, during or after the incident.”
The team added that the last point refutes suggestions from some quarters that “Alonso may have been rendered unconscious by an electrical fault”.
“That is simply not true,” the statement continued. “Our data clearly shows that he was downshifting while applying full brake pressure right up to the moment of the first impact – something that clearly would not have been possible had he been unconscious at the time.
"Our data also confirms that Fernando’s car struck the inside concrete wall, first with its front-right wheel and then with its rear-right. It was a significant lateral impact, resulting in damage to the front upright and axle. After the initial impact, the car slid down the wall for about 15 seconds before coming to a halt. All four wheels remained attached to the car, but no damage was sustained by the bodywork or crash structure between the front and rear wheels.”
The team concluded by saying that Alonso’s fitness for the final test will be assessed over the coming days, though if the Spaniard did suffer a concussion severe enough to warrant two nights in hospital it seems unlikely that he will be fit enough to take the wheel for McLaren this week.
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