McLaren during pre-season testing for the 2015 Formula One World ChampionshipEnlarge Photo
During the second round of pre-season testing for the 2015 Formula One World Championship, which took place last week at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain, McLaren’s new recruit Fernando Alonso unexpectedly left the track at turn three, causing the right-hand side of the car to strike a cement wall. According to McLaren, the reason for the Spaniard’s departure from the track was a gust of wind, and that his only injury was a concussion.
Although conscious, and able to speak with the circuit’s medical team, Alonso was flown to a nearby hospital where he was given CT and MRI scans as precautionary measures. He was expected to remain in hospital for only one night but ended up staying for three. It has also been confirmed that he will miss this week’s third and final round of pre-season testing, raising questions about his condition.
McLaren has described the crash as normal for F1 testing but there is speculation that there is more to it than just a strong gust of wind. New Ferrari recruit Sebastian Vettel was behind Alonso at the time of the crash and said the Spaniard was driving at a slow speed and it looked strange how his car suddenly left the track. It should be noted that Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Junior crashed at the same turn as Alonso during the second test but didn’t require any medical attention.
As for the third test, reserve driver Kevin Magnussen, who drove for McLaren last season, is replacing Alonso. The third test starts today and will run until March 1. The season opener, the Australian Grand Prix, gets underway in the city of Melbourne on March 12, with the actual race to take place on March 15.