Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Albert Park, 2016

Alonso takes new power unit after crash

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso will start the second race of 2016 with a completely new Honda power unit after his original one was severely damaged in his Australian Grand Prix crash.

Honda’s F1 project head Yusuke Hasegawa confirmed the extent of the damage to the unit.

“We have recovered the power unit from Fernando’s car used in Melbourne,” said Hasegawa. “After initial investigations, we are massively disappointed that the ICE and most of the surrounding parts have been heavily damaged, as the impact from the accident was just too great.”

“We will be replacing the complete power unit in Bahrain.”

Drivers can use five power units during the course of the 2016 season but will receive penalties if they use a sixth power unit component or more.

Alonso said he was “hugely impressed” with how quickly the team has manufactured fresh parts to replace those damaged in the crash.

“We’re still pushing to bring upgrades to each race,” he said, “so providing we can get everything to the car in time we’ll be aiming to get as much track time as possible with the new chassis from the start of free practice.”

Alonso added Bahrain has been a “pretty challenging” circuit for McLaren in the past. Hasegawa said it’s “evident that we still need to increase our performance, but thankfully we were able to learn more about where we are and how to progress from the data collected in Melbourne”.

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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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32 comments on “Alonso takes new power unit after crash”

  1. I wonder whether he might need a new chassis too…

    1. I would be massively surprised if he didn’t. His McLaren was obliterated in that crash.

    2. Well considering Alonso says he does (need a new chassis) in the article, I would say its a safe bet. :-)

    3. I saw somewhere that even his seat was cracked, really after such a crash, I would be hugely surprised if the team would go with the same chassis (instead they will probably send it to woking and check it to see how cracked it is – or not) @craig-o

  2. Seems to me replacements due to accidents shouldn’t count in the penalty scheme. The rule was introduced to limit spending and level the playing field by forcing teams to develop more durability, not randomly handicap drivers for on-track incidents.

    1. @maciek Proving whether an accident really was (or wasn’t) an accident would be tricky though.

      1. @davidnotcoulthard they can ask Briatore and Symonds if there is doubt

    2. @marciek. Well, it’s easiest this way. What if a driver crashes and destroys a heavily used engine – getting a new one for free would aid him an advantage. Also how do you determine if a new engine really is necessary? A team could say we need a new engine after a minor crash, but how do you check if that required at all? The FIA won’t stand a chance, the teams/manufacturers engineers would find a thousand reasons for changing an engine regardless if they were valid reasons or not.

      1. Hmmm, now that you mention it though, isn’t there some leeway if a change is needed for safety reasons? Can’t the pertinent FIA people overseeing this sort of thing investigate the ICE themselves and determine, likely, that FA’s unit would not be safe to use and therefore no penalty needed later in the season if they end up needing a 6th unit by then?

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          29th March 2016, 14:27

          isn’t there some leeway if a change is needed for safety reasons?
          @robbie, that rule/exception is for ‘token-less’ upgrades, it still counts as a new PU(-part).

          1. ColdFly F1 (@)
            29th March 2016, 14:31

            of course that 2nd part shouldn’t be quoted.

          2. Ok thanks.

      2. Gearbox damage from a crash is over looked though? If the gearbox is broken and needs to be changed due to the accident there is no penalty for not doing 5 consecutive races with it?

        Losing an engine though is just tough luck I think.

        1. No that’s not how it works. There have been plenty of cases of drivers damaging their gearboxes due to accidents and receiving a grid penalty.

          1. Ahh thanks I did not know, has that always been the case or could they claim Force Majeure in the past?

            Even though not on topic do you know when the aggregate times for races with red flags were stopped. I remember Japan 94 and it reminded me of how different the last race would have been with this rule.

          2. Drivers are not penalised for a new gearbox if they had not finished the previous race which is the case of Alonso here

      3. If we all go ‘wow that was a massive crash’ and the driver gets out the upturned car before the marshals get to it he should get a free engine as a prize ;)

      4. Given all the scrutineering that is done, I doubt it would be all that difficult for an FIA scrutineering to determine that a PU had been damaged beyond reasonable repair.

        Similarly the impact required to cause said damage – don’t think you’d get to many drivers volunteering. It’s not a matter or having a minor impact, to destroy an engine it has to be massive impact (like Alonso’s) so I don’t see team orders being able to achieve that.

  3. Richard Cantelo
    29th March 2016, 15:38

    I think he’ll be able to use the tires again…every cloud….

  4. How about his helmet? You’re supposed to change those after a crash. Guess it has to be painted the same as the old one.

    And his underwear of course.

    1. The Blade Runner (@)
      30th March 2016, 9:08

      Ha! Love the underwear comment!

      You’ve got me thinking: I wonder if the drivers’ boxer shorts are plastered in sponsorship logos like everything else?

    2. Underwear…..best comment so far!

  5. It seems that Mclaren did actually manage to repair the monocoque of Alonso’s car in the space of time between the Melbourne race, and the FP1 of Bahrain unlike Haas Despite Gutierrez’s car otherwise sustaining much less damage compared to Alonso’s, LOL.

    1. Alonso said he is having a new chassis? Where did you read they managed to repair it?

      1. I didn’t notice this paragraph the first time I read the article: “so providing we can get everything to the car in time, we’ll be aiming to get as much track time as possible with the ”new chassis” from the start of free practice.”

  6. Just look at the intercooler and the control electronics hanging out, no kidding they had to change everything.

  7. And there was me thinking it would buff out. Glad they put me right.

  8. Hardly news they couldn’t save it. What would of been great is if they said “we could recover the ICE and should be good to go for the next race” That would be news

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