Wednesday 15 August 2018

Alonso ridicules McLaren's reasons for 100mph crash

Alonso: Explosive comments
Alonso: Explosive comments

Daniel Johnson

Fernando Alonso had barely passed the medical exams which allow his return to Formula One before he was hurling grenades towards his McLaren team with an explosive testimony of the accident which threatened his career.

With not a single race completed, a gaping chasm has opened up between Alonso and McLaren. He placed the blame for his testing crash squarely on a car fault, while the team maintained there was no data to show a mechanical error, a view supported by the Spaniard's team-mate, Jenson Button.

The result is McLaren and their driver are fundamentally at odds over the accident which put Alonso out of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix with a concussion. Alonso repeatedly rubbished McLaren's narrative, ridiculing the suggestion that a "gust of wind" may have played a role in the seemingly innocuous crash on February 22.

The two-time champion also claimed the accident in pre-season testing did not knock him unconscious - contrary to assertions by Ron Dennis, the team boss - and denied reports he thought it was 1995 when he came round after the crash.

For good measure, he added that the team's handling of the affair had not been "helpful".

McLaren's subsequent decision not to respond to Alonso's comments in the drivers' press conference was revealing. They stuck by the evidence of an internal 37-page report which concluded there was nothing to suggest the car had failed.

The unspoken implication was that Alonso is not being straight. Speculation has swirled over the past month as to whether the 33-year-old blacked out or had some kind of medical episode before he lost control, rather than his explanation, that the steering jammed.

It is understood that Alonso only told McLaren about his steering theory in the last week or so and after their report had been compiled by their engineers.

The FIA, motorsport's governing body, has privately investigated the accident at the Circuit de Catalunya, but will not be making its conclusions public. However, it is understood that it found no reason to dispute McLaren's claim that the car did not fail.

Alonso said last night he remembered the entire crash and only lost consciousness when he was given some drugs by doctors in the medical helicopter.

"Even a hurricane will not move the car at that speed," he said. "Definitely we had a steering problem.

"I think some of the confusion comes from the very early quotes and explanations, because the attention was very high at that moment."

Formula One needs him back urgently to solve this mystery. Alonso claims the steering locked, sending him into the wall at around 100mph. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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