IN RECOVERY: Fernando Alonso is recovering from his crash at Catalunya in Spain. It’s doubtful he will participate in final F1 testing ahead of the Australian GP. Image: McLaren/ Twitter
LONDON, England - McLaren have blamed gusting winds for Fernando Alonso's Formula 1 testing crash on Sunday (Feb 22) and dismissed 'erroneous rumours' that an electrical fault could have rendered its driver unconscious before the impact.
The team said in an update on Monday (Feb 23) that Alonso was making a recovery in hospital in Barcelona, Spain, chatting to family and friends, and would remain under observation.
It did however cast doubt on whether Alonso would take part in this final four-day test in Barcelona ahead of the season-opening 2015 Australian GP on March 15.
'GUSTY WINDS' TO BLAME
McLaren said a detailed analysis of damage to the car, and telemetry data, indicated "the crash was caused by the unpredictably gusty winds at that part of the circuit at that time, and which had affected other drivers similarly.
McLaren stated: "We can categorically state that there is no evidence that indicates that Fernando's car suffered mechanical failure of any kind."
The data also showed the car had no loss of aerodynamic pressure nor was there any electrical discharge or irregularity in the ERS (energy recovery) system before, during or after the incident.
The team added: "That last point refutes the erroneous rumours that have spread recently to the effect that Fernando was rendered unconscious by an electrical fault. That is simply not true.
"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."
BARCELONA TEST IN DOUBT
While the driver's manager posted a photograph on Twitter of a smiling Alonso giving a thumbs up to the camera, McLaren said he would need time to recover from sedation.
The team said: "We intend to give him every opportunity to make a rapid and complete recovery, and will evaluate in due course whether or not he will participate in the next Barcelona test."
The third and final pre-season test starts on Thursday and ends on Sunday, with the teams then returning to their factories before flying to Melbourne.
Alonso is back at McLaren, where he spent a sole season in 2007, after five years at Ferrari to start a new Honda-powered era for the team.
Testing had been challenging for McLaren even before the accident, with Alonso and 2009 champion team mate Jenson Button having to contend with repeated power unit problems. Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.