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2018-02-26 12:36

Image: McLaren F1/Twitter

Spain - Fernando Alonso made an inauspicious start to the Formula 1  season on Monday, going off the track and losing a wheel on his new McLaren on the first day of testing.

Alonso was about to complete his seventh lap when his car went into the gravel on the final turn at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where it lost the right back wheel.

The session was stopped for a few minutes while a crew hauled the damaged McLaren onto a flatbed truck and drove it back to the pit lane.

The two-time world champion finished 15th in the drivers' standings last year after earning points in only five of the 20 races.

McLaren is hoping to rebound this year after changing to Renault engines following three problem-plagued campaigns with Honda.

Force India, Toro Rosso and Haas unveiled their new cars shortly before testing started in Barcelona.

Testing runs until Thursday. A second four-day session will be held from March 6-9. The season-opening Australia GP is on March 25.

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