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Fernando Alonso airlifted to hospital in F1 testing accident in Catalonia

Former two time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso had to be kept in hospital last Sunday night after he was involved in a serious accident at the Circuit de Catalunya, in Greater Barcelona. The Spaniard suffered head injuries and concussion and had to be airlifted from the circuit to hospital via helicopter. Alonso was given the all clear after undergoing a series of scans and tests but was kept in hospital overnight for observation because of the nature of his injuries. The Spaniard was completing the 21st lap of the day for his new McLaren team when the accident happened at turn four on the fourth and final day of the test. According to his team, Alonso was “conscious” upon his arrival at the circuit’s medical centre and able to talk to doctors before being airlifted to hospital.

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23 February 2015 06:23 PM

by

Wayne O’Connor / Nisse Laiho-Murdoch

Barcelona (ACN).- Former double Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso had to be kept in hospital last Sunday night after he was involved in a serious accident at the Circuit de Catalunya, located at Montmeló, in Greater Barcelona. The Spaniard suffered head injuries and a concussion and had to be airlifted from the circuit to hospital via helicopter. Alonso was given the all clear after undergoing a series of scans and tests last night but was kept in hospital overnight for observation because of the nature of his injuries. The Spaniard was completing the 21st lap of the day for his new McLaren team when the accident happened at turn four on the fourth and final day of the test. According to his team, Alonso was “conscious” upon his arrival at the circuit’s medical centre and able to talk to doctors before being airlifted to hospital.


The news came as a further blow to McLaren who had already been struggling at the tests but team boss Eric Boullier said that he was glad that Alonso was well. "Fernando's accident was just one of those things that happens in testing," he said. "Fortunately he's fine but was concussed during the accident, which therefore required an overnight stay in hospital as a precaution. That's normal practice after a concussion. Inevitably, some media reports have sought to exaggerate the severity of the incident - it was just a normal testing accident," he added.

The news also came as a blow to the crowd who had gathered to see Alonso perform on his return to the team at his home circuit and he was greeted with cheers when he took to the track at 11am on Sunday. Alonso had previously raced for the British team in 2007 before switching to Renault and then Ferrari. However, it remained unclear what caused the accident but Sebastian Vettel, who was driving behind Alonso when the crash happened, said it looked unusual. "The speed was slow - maybe 150kph. Then he turned right into the wall. It looked strange," said the German. The accident curtailed the rest of McLaren’s test as they decided not to repair the car to allow their other driver, Jenson Button, to appear on track in the afternoon.

There was further bad news for the home fans later in the evening as Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Junior ended his day prematurely when he also crashed exiting Turn 3. 
"It was a really good day until I crashed," he said. "Unfortunately I made a mistake at Turn 3, which is not the best place to do that, because the barriers are close at that point. I'd rather crash in the test than in Race 1, so I have learned something from it and now we turn the page, move on and think about next week's test here," he added.

It brought to an end the first week of testing at the circuit, with the second week due to begin on Thursday before the season’s opening race in Australia on March 15.

Until that point it had been a fairly uneventful week in Barcelona as the teams put their cars through their paces ahead of the new season. The major talking point of the week came from an incident on Thursday that saw the Williams of Susie Wolff and the Sauber driven by Felipe Nasr collided on track with both drivers blaming each other for the accident.

Wolff described the incident as “stupid” and laid the blame at Nasr’s door. "I stayed completely on my line, I didn’t expect him to move across as aggressively as he did and he hit my front-left [tyre] with his rear. For me it was an unfortunate incident but not something I could have avoided," she said. "I went straight over to him and said ‘what the hell went on’? He was a bit speechless and to be honest with you I was also a bit speechless because it was one of those things that happened and you said to yourself ‘how the hell did that just happen?’ It’s stupid," she added.

However, Nasr disagreed. “I was clearly on the braking zone already, a few metres after the braking zone, and suddenly I felt a big hit,” the Brazilian said. “She said she wasn’t aware of me, so I don’t know if she didn’t get the message from the team or didn’t check the mirrors,” he added.

The four day test was most notable for the continued show of force shown by defending champions Mercedes and the struggles of Fernando Alonso’s new team who could only muster a total of 104 laps between Thursday and Sunday, a figure most of the teams were amassing on a daily basis.

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  • Fernando Alonso prior to his accident on Sunday (by Wayne O'Connor)

  • Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari entering the pit lane on Sunday (by Wayne O'Connor)

  • Fernando Alonso had to be airlifted from the circuit (by Wayne O'Connor)

  • Fernando Alonso prior to his accident on Sunday (by Wayne O'Connor)
  • Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari entering the pit lane on Sunday (by Wayne O'Connor)
  • Fernando Alonso had to be airlifted from the circuit (by Wayne O'Connor)