Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Alonso to stay in hospital overnight after suffering concussion in testing crash

2015 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Fernando Alonso will spend the night in hospital following his testing accident today as a precaution, McLaren has confirmed.

The team said Alonso was uninjured in the crash which occurred at turn three on his 20th lap of today’s test. Alonso suffered a concussion in the crash and although he regained consciousness afterwards and was able to speak to the circuit’s medical team, he was sent to hospital where CT (computerised tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans were performed.

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said some reports of Alonso’s crash had been “exaggerated” and described the accident as “just one of those things that happens in testing” but did not elaborate on the cause of the accident.

“Fortunately, he’s fine, but was concussed during the accident, which therefore required an overnight stay in hospital as a precaution,” said Boullier. “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.”

McLaren began the day intending to divide their efforts between Alonso in the morning and Jenson Button in the afternoon, but following Alonso’s crash decided against sending the car out again.

“While the car wasn’t particularly badly damaged, it was enough of an impact to warrant quite a lengthy check of the gearbox and power unit systems,” said Boullier.

“Given the time needed to carry out such an analysis, we decided to bring the curtain down on our test a few hours earlier than anticipated.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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47 comments on “Alonso to stay in hospital overnight after suffering concussion in testing crash”

  1. The definition of concussion is traumatic brain injury so to claim Fernando was “uninjured in the crash” is plainly incorrect.

    1. Liam McShane (@)
      22nd February 2015, 19:08

      Clutching at straws there buddy.

      1. I don’t think so. CT scan (or whatever it is called) is needed to assert the level of damage from a concussion. They even need to keep him under observation for tonight to be certain that he is ok. So saying that he is uninjured is not correct until medical team is certain that it is the case.

        1. He already had a CT scan which showed no injury

          1. @mazdachris The point of my post being that concussion is an injury, and not a small one. So the initial statement from McLaren that he was not injured was not correct.

      2. Concussion is obviously some degree of injury. I’m presuming the team meant not visibly injured, but even so the statement, as reported, makes little sense.

      3. Concussion is caused by the brain hitting the inside of the skull, caused by sudden deceleration or acceleration. This can range from the mild (slight bruise) to a severe life threatening (bleed) or devastating (tissue destroying) injury. Alonso could be anywhere on that scale. Apparently mild concussion can rapidly deteriorate, so hospitalisation is essential.

        1. Not anywhere. As already said, the CT scan showed no injury.

          1. And also as already said, he was concussed. A concussion is an injury. Obviously there are conflicting reports. Maybe everyone could just acknowledge that and put an end to this Abbott and Costello routine??

      4. No. You can either be “uninjured”, or “suffer a concussion”. The two are mutually exclusive.

        I don’t know what happened, I have no theories as to what happened. But Fernando was not uninjured if he suffered a concussion.

      5. There was not concussion. Alonso most likely suffered a electric shock.Look at the picture where the mclaren engineers are recovering the car. The mclaren mechanics are wearing gloves,which clearly show that there was something wrong with the car and they were afraid of an electric shock or something. Also there was a photographer who took the pictures of the accident and he said that Alonso was unconscious for at least 10 minutes and that he didn’t respond to the slaps the rescue workers were giving to his helmet. Also it is quite clear that button did not go out because the team neither didn’t know what happened nor they wanted to risk button. So for that reason they concluded their test at that moment. Last but not least vetted was behind Alonso and he said that Alonso was going slow when he crashed. Also the damages to the car were not extensive. Only a few parts were damaged.

        1. they always wear gloves, were the evidence that he was electrocuted?

        2. Gloves are always worn by the mechanics just look next time you watch F1

    2. Depends on the severity. If you bruised your arm, would you say that you were injured?

      1. Your analogy fails because a bruise is not serious, whereas a concussion is serious at any level

        1. Of course concussion is an injury but I’ll assume the intention in saying he was uninjured was to point out no ‘permanent’ injury that would prevent him from doing the next test or from starting the season, such as severe concussion or a broken bone somewhere on his body.

  2. I hope he recovers quickly.

    When was the last time a driver had a concussion in an accident?

    1. @oletros Well, Jules Bianchi in Suzuka.

      Before that, Sergio Perez in Monaco 2011. After his crash at the chicane, he tried to return in Canada, but decided he wasn’t well yet and was replaced by de la Rosa for that race. If I recall correctly, he said after the season that he should’ve skipped another race or two to get fully well.

      1. massa also took the spring to the head

      2. Dario Franchitti also got a concussion in his career ending crash

  3. In Italy there is a lot of speculation running around this incident. There are some theories in place telling Alonso could have suffered a shock due to an electrical problem in the car.

    It could be some way exaggerated but if you hear Vettel declarations about the incident it quite strange the physical situation of Alonso after the small crash he had.

    Anyway, we will have to wait some days (if not weeks) to know what has happened.

    1. Whether this is true or not, Mclaren appear to have been very…cagey…about this entire incident so far.

      Comments along the lines of “reports have sought to exaggerate the severity” but pointedly refusing to fill in any of the gaps are at least a little bit odd.

      1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        23rd February 2015, 2:36

        The whole incident seems very odd, especially McLaren’s response. Boullier says it was “just one of those things that happens in testing” and “reports have sought to exaggerate the severity” but these days it’s quite rare for a driver to suffer concussion even in a severe crash let alone such an innocuous incident as this appears to be.

        Vettel’s description, along with the photos which have emerged seem to indicate that Alonso carried on steering to the right on the exit of turn three, where the track straightens out and while travelling at a fairly low speed. Maldonado did crash in the same place at the Grand Prix last year but he lost it on the kerbs and spun into the wall on a hot lap in a typical (especially for him) manner.

        Perhaps a loss of consciousness caused the crash but then again, along with the electric shock rumours, that wouldn’t explain the concussion as surely that would have been a result of the impact. Hmmmm, I’m struggling to get my head around this one…

    2. Would that be a first in an F1 car?!

      1. @williamstuart a shock from the car’s electrics? well, I remember back in 2008 when they were testing the KERS systems, a mechanic on both Red Bull and Sauber suffered nasty shocks.

        1. Yes, but as others have mentioned, Alonso would have to have completed a circuit somehow. The danger of KERS for the mechanics is that they’re already standing on the ground, and depending on footwear, are already grounded (earthed, pick a term).

          The driver, sitting in a carbon fiber tub, should not be grounded in the same sense, and therefore should not provide a path for electricity. It would have to be a freakish combination of circumstances, I would think, to cause an electrical shock.

          Generally, there should be no high voltage (ie, MGU-H/K) circuits inside the cockpit. Those are heavy, short wires between the MGU’s and the energy store.

          While carbon fiber itself can conduct electricity, CF as used in race cars is bonded into a resin which should be non-conductive, so there’s very little opportunity for an electrical circuit to be formed that includes the driver.

  4. Glad he’s ok, that must have been some impact all the same. This was the last thing both McLaren and Alonso needed now. Hopefully he’ll be ok and can have a productive final test in a few days.

    1. On that note, not like McLaren are short of test drivers should they want to give Alonso a bit more rest time.

  5. What probably worries me the most is that Eric Boullier still hasn’t elaborated on what was the exact cause of the accident. It’s still a complete mystery.

    I’m most happy seeing Alonso is more or less unhurt, though.

    1. One thing I can think about is that Alonso kind of got loose, spun a little more than 360°, and hit it slightly with its nose, right front suspension and sidepod.

      The latest Tobias Gruener tweet got me think about this scenario.

      1. Alonso did not spin. He just move to the right at a low speed and then he was unconscious for at least 10 minutes according to the photographer who took the pictures of the accident. He did not respond to the slaps the rescue workers gave to his helmet. So there was not concussion

        1. Lose of consciousness , vomiting , confusion and lose of memory for a short time are some of the symptoms of a concussion…And there Are little or no differences between the symptoms of a concussion and a very severe brain injury.. The ct scan showing no injuries to brain is a good sign indeed…however the symptoms need to be monitored carefully as not all injuries to the brain are detected in an initial ct scan… Hopefully the symptoms will go away after a good nights sleep and he will be back at the wheel of that McLaren in time for the next test… still wondering what might’ve caused the crash…judging by what Vettel said it doesn’t look like a mistake by Fernando… Either something broke on the car or something happened to him before the crash..

  6. There is something very strange about this crash…and the way McLaren are managing the situation. I’m sure we’ll have more information in the next few days. It could be interesting to have the opinion of an insider of the sport…

  7. People think the NFL has been ignoring concussions? McLaren doesn’t even think it is an injury. LOL.

    1. Maybe ten years after he retires he will sue the FIA…..

  8. All wheels still on the car, with a side-on contact against a concrete wall? I don’t see enough of an impact to cause a concussion. The cockpit sides these days make that quite a safe accident too.

    Would they need a CT and MRI scan after an electric shock? I don’t know. And keeping him in?

    I hope we can believe them that the scans were clear, thinking of Richard Burns.

    1. The wheel set off a 15G alarm.

  9. It would be nice if Alonso would send out a tweet just to confirm himself as being okay!

    1. Good idea, I’ll get the PR dept. onto it straight away.
      Thanks
      Ron.

  10. This sounds very serious, hope it’s not career ending. Hope it’s just a regular sickness :L And of course he’s not okay, something like this shouldn’t happen. Either Fernando or the car had a serious malfunction. I don’t think an electric shock would result in all the fuzz like this, though it would explain McLaren’s way of dealing with it and saying it wasn’t no biggie.

  11. There was not concussion. Alonso most likely suffered a electric shock.Look at the picture where the mclaren engineers are recovering the car. The mclaren mechanics are wearing gloves,which clearly show that there was something wrong with the car and they were afraid of an electric shock or something. Also there was a photographer who took the pictures of the accident and he said that Alonso was unconscious for at least 10 minutes and that he didn’t respond to the slaps the rescue workers were giving to his helmet. Also it is quite clear that button did not go out because the team neither didn’t know what happened nor they wanted to risk button. So for that reason they concluded their test at that moment. Last but not least vetted was behind Alonso and he said that Alonso was going slow when he crashed. Also the damages to the car were not extensive. Only a few parts were damaged.

    1. This is at least the 3rd time you have posted this exact comment and it’s getting boring, if you are looking to get a response to make you happy then here it is.

  12. Hope Alonso is fine… Wishing him a speedy recovery.

    It has not been the best day for Honda. Meanwhile in a different news Honda CEO is stepping down. Hope this does not have impact over the F1 plans.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/business/international/honda-chief-executive-steps-down-unexpectedly.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

  13. I think it’s highly unlikely that he was electrocuted. More likely he fainted at the wheel. I think he was unconscious for a period or there wouldn’t have been such concern.

  14. According to this BBC article, Alonso was correcting steering as well as braking and downshifting up until the moment of impact. Doesn’t suggest any loss of consciousness before the impact.

  15. Not sure I get the insistence by several posters that they must have all the facts, with suggestions Mac is being ‘cagey’ etc. by not providing every last detail, like that is what normally happens in F1. They have called it a normal incident, and these days that could even be something that is not really normal other than for this new formula. We have often seen braking catch drivers out due to how the energy recovery systems affect braking, for example.

    FA had a testing incident which is exactly when teams want to solve issues with the car, he had a small concussion that was only severe enough to keep him in hospital one night and that for precautionary reasons. Those attending accidents likely always wear gloves, and if anything worries me at all it is that someone may or may not have been slapping FA on the helmet, which to me is, if true, the most serious aspect of this story and does not sound like the right thing to do with someone with a potential head injury.

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