Formula 1

Fernando Alonso thanks fans as FIA open crash probe

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Fernando Alonso has thanked his fans for their support as he rests following his crash in testing last week.

The McLaren driver hit the inside wall around the long turn three at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after a strong gust of wind pushed Alonso off-line and he lost control.

The impact was measured at 30G, around six times the force put on a driver through a high-speed corner like Eau Rouge, followed a secondary impact at 15G before coming to a halt.

In a YouTube video the Spaniard said he was "completely fine" and was wanting to drive at this week's final test in Barcelona but followed doctors advice not to do so.

FIA open investigation

On Thursday McLaren CEO Ron Dennis gave a press conference on Alonso's condition revealing he had been unconscious for a few seconds and had concussion-like symptoms from hitting his helmet twice on both sides of the headrest but that no injuries had been sustained.

The long-time team boss dismissed the theory, however, that the two-time world champion had been electrocuted saying though Alonso's team-mate Jenson Button said the telemetry looked weird, there was no signal from the car's sensors that there had been an issue with the Energy Recovery System (ERS).

At the request of Dennis, however, the FIA is to look into the events leading to and after the incident at the Circuit de Catalunya to see what can be learned and that probe has been welcomed by drivers.

Grosjean slams Astro turf use

One driver who has had a say on the incident is Lotus' Romain Grosjean with the Frenchman criticising the use of Astroturf at circuits on the outside of the track through high-speed corners.

"I know that day was very windy and gusty which makes Turn 3 a bit tricky"

With tarmac run-off areas now at almost every circuit, the artificial grass has been good at deterring drivers from running too wide over kerbs and white lines when wet, which it may have been in the case of Alonso following morning dew or previous rain, it becomes very slippery and particularly hazardous when the tarmac is dry and drivers are using slick tyres.

"I don't know what happened," Grosjean told ESPN when asked about Alonso's incident. "I know that day was very windy and gusty which makes Turn 3 a bit tricky. I don't know if he went on the Astroturf on the exit [but] I hate that surface because when you get on it … you lose the car or it stays straight. I don't know if he hit that and then went into the barrier.

"There a few places where you really don't want to go on the Astroturf. 130R in Suzuka, the long Turn 8 in Austin where they added Astroturf and it wasn't there the year before.

"It's a trade-off in-between stopping the car from leaving the track and of course safety. At the moment it's the best material we have so it's fine. Sometimes you can cross it more than others, like India, you can play quite a lot with them, and there is other places where you just don't want to use it."

Lateral impacts also a worry

Grosjean also believes the FIA should look into improving the crash structure for a lateral or sideways impact, which it is believed could have caused the bigger injury risk to Alonso than the scale of the crash would normally suggest.

"But that's the problem. If you hit sideways, the wishbones and so on are not done to be breaking that way," he explained. "They won't bend … its carbon so either they break or they stay in one piece. If it stays in one piece then the energy has to go somewhere and that's in the driver.

"I think first we can be happy he's OK and left the hospital. Second thing we can learn is to get the drivers safety a bit higher up when it's lateral impact."

Most side impacts are tested in case of another car turning into the sidepod during an overtake and front and rear designs are now the most crash-resistant in F1 history but a crash parallel to a wall is very rare incident indeed.

The HANS device all drivers have on their helmets has also been very good at absorbing energy that would have previously gone through the neck causing whiplash though again was seemingly not as effectively when a driver's head hits the headrest.

Alonso set for Melbourne

The scenes after the incident with Alonso being recovered by ambulance and flown to the medical facility will have likely brought back memories of Jules Bianchi's crash in Suzuka last year though of course the circumstances of the accident were a lot different. Everyone, therefore, will be pleased to see Fernando is fine and raring to go for the first race in Melbourne in just over two weeks time.

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