Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

Alonso takes new chassis after Spa crash

2018 Italian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso will use a new chassis for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix following his Spa crash.

He was hit by Nico Hulkenberg at the start of the race and flipped over the top of Charles Leclerc’s Sauber. Alonso told media at Monza his previous car is “gone” as a result of the crash.

“I think it’s the chassis that I used in winter testing or the first races. So it’s something that we already raced with, but it’s a new chassis.”

McLaren is also running low on its stock of current-specification spare parts as a result of the crash, said Alonso.

“We have enough, luckily, but probably we will run out of spare parts, we have just what we have on the car. The rest will be probably different specification.

“It’s quite tough because the damage on the car was quite extreme, especially on my car, then you have only four cars to build a completely new car for Monza. It’s the way it is.”

The team believes his Spa power unit survived the impact and will test it in first practice tomorrow before committing to using it for the rest of the weekend.

“There were some concerns on Sunday, then Monday [and] Tuesday they checked everything properly and it seems OK. Hopefully we can run still with that engine.

“But the full car, not only the chassis, the floor, the front wings, things that we are limited on parts as well, they’re gone. It was quite expensive.”

The crash was doubly frustrating for Alonso as the team had decided against changing his engine that weekend and incurring a penalty, which he will have to take at a later date.

“I was just disappointed and definitely worried about the car because these two races are quite important for us in terms of choosing where to have the penalty, maybe introduce a new engine, things like that.

“In Spa because the penalty of Hulkenberg, Valtteri [Bottas] and [Carlos] Sainz [Jnr] we opted not to change the engine and benefit from the P14 starting position. And then in the first corner you are out of the race and you will have to pay the penalty in this race or later on.

“So it’s a double zero, one in Spa because of another guy and one that you will take the penalties. So quite a sad day.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 10 comments on “Alonso takes new chassis after Spa crash”

    1. That’s quite the headline. I think it’d be more noteworthy if he didn’t take a new chassis!


        that’d grab people’s attention xD

        He’d still get it around in a reasonable time too…

      2. Don’t overestimate mclaren’s chassis: the difference between the 2 is not THAT huge!

    2. Once again, one more example that highlights the inconsistency that I don’t understand when it comes to the topic of changing a monocoque (or chassis or survival cell, whichever way one wants to call it). For instance, Sainz’s car suffered a similar amount of physical damage if not more from his crash in Sochi in 2015, and yet they still managed to fix the car without ‘needing’ to change the monocoque despite having only about three hours to do so before the parc ferme rule came into effect. If that amount of damage is fixable without a monocoque change within that little time, then so should be the extent Alonso’s car suffered in the last race within a few days before the next competitive session (FP1 in this case).

      Oh, and BTW, technically, it isn’t ‘new’ as it’s been used before.

      1. @jerejj
        There’s a reason the term ‘armchair expert’ exists. If one team manages to repair a badly damaged car within 3 hours, and another one has to change the chassis of a badly damaged car despite having about three days of factory time, the most likely explanation by an astronomical unit is that the damage to these cars wasn’t comparable at all.
        Your observation is based on nothing more than the impression of ‘oh, that looked pretty bad’ and ‘oh, that looked pretty bad, too’.
        Sainz’ crash consisted in him taking off the front left corner of his car before going straight on into a series of shock-absorbing barriers. Therefore, this accident involved areas of the car that have nothing to do with the chassis, including the most potent crash structure in an F1 car, that is specifically designed to disintegrate on impact to soak up the energy and preventing it from reaching the survival cell, and, by extension, the chassis.
        Alonso’s car, on the other hand, was hit hard in the rear, slightly off-centre, in an area with much weaker crash structures, but plenty of structural parts instead. It then went on to hit another car sideways, i.e. again with a part of the car that isn’t designed to withstand hard impacts, before bouncing on that car’s Halo and crashing down on the tarmac.
        Each of these impacts involved parts that cannot withstand anywhere near the same energies the front of the car is specifically designed for, and each of these impacts involved obstacles that are much more rigid than crash barriers.

        If Sainz’s monocoque wasn’t changed, the straightforward explanation for that is that it simply wasn’t damaged. They had to rebuild the periphery of the car, but that’s feasible as long as the centrepiece is still holding up.
        If Alonso’s monocoque was changed, the straightforward explanation for that is that it was damaged, plain and simple. In that case, no amount of soothing caresses can make it whole again. It needs to be rebuilt.

      2. The inconsistency I see, is that they have a single spare chassis for Alo, single spare aero kit of the latest spec etc, and still Alo risks all by toying with Magnussen.

    3. When I watched the crash I could swear I saw the car flex like a ship having its back broken

    4. I would have thought Monza was a great place for him to take a new (and improved) engine, Ferrari and Mercedes powers cars will take full advantage of their greater straight line speed.

      1. Supposedly the new engine spec has a different layout or dimensions, which requires a change to the chassis. McLaren are apparently done with the 2018 car, and are solely focused on the 2019 car.

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