Tag: Fernando Alonso

F1: McLaren driver Fernando Alonso to return for Malaysian GP

Fernando Alonso will return to racing at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, if he is given the all-clear by doctors, his McLaren team say.

The double world champion missed the season opener in Australia on 15 March to recover from concussion suffered in an accident in pre-season testing.

McLaren said in a statement Alonso, 33, felt his steering go heavy before the crash, which is so far unexplained.

The team will fit the car with an extra sensor to gather data.

McLaren said the decision was made following Alonso’s visit to the McLaren factory last week, when he drove the simulator and went over the data from the accident with the team’s engineers.

“While there was nothing evident in the extensive car telemetry data, nor anything abnormal in the subsequent reconstructions and laboratory tests, Fernando recalls a sense of ‘heavy’ steering prior to the accident,” McLaren said.

“Consequently, the team has fitted an additional sensor to the car, to increase our data capture.

“Fernando is very much looking forward to getting back into the car and making a substantial contribution to our collective efforts with Honda, to accelerate the required improvement to our on-track performance.”

Alonso has decided to fly to Malaysia for the race following medical tests by three eminent doctors at Cambridge University on Sunday.

His manager would not confirm Alonso had passed the tests and McLaren made no reference to them in their statement.

However, the driver was given the all-clear and now faces only the official test by governing body the FIA’s medical delegate and the Sepang circuit’s chief medical officer before being allowed to race.

It is considered highly unlikely that he would fail these having passed the tests in Cambridge, which are also part of the FIA’s programme for drivers returning from injury.

“Since his Barcelona testing accident, Fernando has followed a rigorous, specialised training programme, designed and closely monitored by leading sports scientists, to ensure his safe and timely return to racing,” McLaren said.

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: McLaren driver Fernando Alonso to miss Australian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso will not compete at the Australian Grand Prix on the recommendation of doctors as he continues to recover from his testing crash in Barcelona.

Alonso spent three nights in hospital after being knocked unconscious during the second test and sat out the final four days in Barcelona on medical advice. McLaren said last week the Spaniard had yet to be cleared for the race but remained confident he would be.

On Tuesday McLaren confirmed tests had found “no evidence whatsoever of any injury” but that doctors had recommended the Spaniard sit out the opening round of 2015 to minimise the chances of second impact syndrome. The statement said doctors had conducted “an exhaustive series of tests” which found him entirely healthy from a neurological and cardiac perspective.

The statement went on to say: “Fernando’s doctors have recommended to him that, following the concussion he sustained in a testing accident at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 22nd, for the time being he should seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors that could potentially result in his sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one, so as to minimise the chances of second impact syndrome, as is normal medical procedure when treating athletes after concussions.

“In order to limit those environmental risk factors, specifically, his doctors have advised that he should not compete in the imminent Australian Grand Prix meeting, which will take place on March 13th, 14th and 15th.”

Reserve driver Kevin Magnussen, the man Alonso replaced last December, will replace the Spaniard for the season opener. McLaren says doctors are supportive of Alonso’s ambitions of returning to the car for the second race in Malaysia.

Read more at ESPN

F1: Alonso leaves hospital but will miss final test

Fernando Alonso has left hospital following treatment for concussion but will sit out of this week’s final pre-season test as he continues to recuperate.

Alonso spent three nights in the Hospital General de Catalunya following an unusual but nasty accident at the Circuit de Catalunya during testing on Sunday. He has now returned to his family’s home in Oviedo and will be replaced by Kevin Magnussen at this week’s test.

“Following his testing accident at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last Sunday, we are pleased to confirm that Fernando Alonso has now left hospital,” a team statement said. “He has returned to his family’s home in Spain for further rest and recuperation.

“As a result, he will sit out this week’s final winter test, at which he was due to share driving duties with Jenson Button. Kevin Magnussen, McLaren-Honda’s test and reserve driver, will replace him.

“Jenson will be testing the McLaren-Honda car tomorrow (February 26), and the team will confirm the full day-to-day running order in due course.”

Earlier this week McLaren published the results of its investigation into the crash, revealing Alonso’s car was caught by a gust of wind in the fast right-hand Turn 3, causing him to run wide and lose control of the car. He then made heavy contact with the inside wall before making a further impacts with the wall before his car came to a halt ahead of Turn 4.

According to reports, the FIA will investigate the incident in attempt to learn from the accident.

Read more at ESPN

F1: ‘Unpredictable winds’ to blame for Alonso crash

McLaren has clarified Fernando Alonso’s crash in Barcelona occurred due to unpredictable gusty winds at the circuit and confirmed the Spaniard is making a “solid recovery” in hospital.

Alonso was airlifted to hospital on the final day of the second test for precautionary tests after suffering a concussion following a crash at the exit of Turn 3. After the crash speculative reports suggested Alonso had fainted or lost consciousness at the wheel before the accident due to the distance between initial contact with the wall and where he stopped, though this contradicted official statements from both the team and the Spaniard’s management.

In a statement released on Monday McLaren categorically denied any electrical shock occurred inside the car and instead blamed the high winds at the circuit on Sunday, which later in the day caught out Alonso’s compatriot Carlos Sainz at the same part of the circuit. McLaren also confirmed Alonso had been applying full brakes before impact with the wall.

“Over the past 24 hours, we have been carrying out a detailed analysis of the damage to Fernando’s car, and its associated telemetry data, in order fully to understand the cause, or causes, of his accident,” the statement said. “Even at this early stage, we have been able to reach some firm conclusions.

“His car ran wide at the entry to Turn 3 – which is a fast uphill right-hander – allowing it to run onto the Astroturf that lines the outside of the track. A consequent loss of traction caused a degree of instability, spitting it back towards the inside of the circuit, where it regained traction and struck the wall side-on. Our findings indicate that the accident was caused by the unpredictably gusty winds at that part of the circuit at that time, and which had affected other drivers similarly (eg, Carlos Sainz Jnr).

“We can categorically state that there is no evidence that indicates that Fernando’s car suffered mechanical failure of any kind. We can also confirm that absolutely no loss of aerodynamic pressure was recorded, which fact indicates that the car did not suffer any aerodynamic loss, despite the fact that it was subjected to a significant level of g-force. Finally, we can also disclose that no electrical discharge or irregularity of any kind occurred in the car’s ERS system, either before, during or after the incident.

“That last point refutes the erroneous rumours that have spread recently to the effect that Fernando was rendered unconscious by an electrical fault. That is simply not true. Our data clearly shows that he was downshifting while applying full brake pressure right up to the moment of the first impact – something that clearly would not have been possible had he been unconscious at the time.”

Alonso, who suffered a concussion in the crash, was taken to hospital as a precaution after his crash and McLaren is yet to make a decision on his involvement in the final Barcelona test which begins on Thursday.

alonso-ok

“In hospital a thorough and complete analysis of his condition was performed, involving CT scans and MRI scans, all of which were completely normal. In order to provide the privacy and tranquillity required to facilitate a peaceful recuperation, he is being kept in hospital for further observation, and to recover from the effects of the medication that successfully managed his routine sedation yesterday. We intend to give him every opportunity to make a rapid and complete recovery, and will evaluate in due course whether or not he will participate in the next Barcelona test.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Barcelona Test Day 4: Grosjean fastest as Mercedes starts to show potential

Romain Grosjean made it three out of four for Lotus at this week’s pre-season test in Barcelona as he topped an eventful day marked by Fernando Alonso’s unusual crash in the McLaren.

Half an hour before lunch, Alonso went off the circuit at the exit of Turn 3 and came to a stop on the run down to Turn 4. A lengthy delay followed and after being taken by ambulance to the medical centre a conscious Alonso was airlifted to hospital for precautionary checks. CT scans in the afternoon confirmed the Spaniard was uninjured, although he will be kept in hospital overnight.

Alonso completed just 19 laps before his accident and McLaren was not able to get the car back out on track in the afternoon when Jenson Button was scheduled to drive. It means McLaren finishes the second pre-season test with just 129 laps to show for its week in Barcelona and just one week of testing left to rectify its problems before the first race in Australia.

day4-alonso-crashes-out

Alonso’s accident was just one incident in an eventful final day at the Circuit de Catalunya, which saw four further red flags in the afternoon. First Nico Hulkenberg stopped on track under a cloud of smoke from his 2014 Force India. Carlos Sainz then spun off at Turn 4, snapping the Toro Rosso’s front wing on impact with the wall. The accident was heavy enough for him to have to pay a brief but routine trip to the medical centre for checks. Valtteri Bottas stopped in the same spot a few moments after the green flags came out and with ten minutes to go there was another red flag when Felipe Nasr pulled up with a problem with his Sauber.

Grosjean’s headline time of 1:24.067 was set on the super-soft tyre, and marked a day with 111 laps and a race simulation for Lotus. Mercedes added to its sizeable winter mileage count with 131 laps for Nico Rosberg as it continues to look for a step forward in reliability this season. In the final hour Rosberg put in an impressive 1:24.321, set on the medium tyre and just 0.254s off Grosjean’s time. The lap was roughly a second faster than Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time on medium tyres at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, but unlike Hamilton’s was set on used tyres and most likely with a heavier fuel load.

After focusing on pit stops and race starts on Saturday, Williams spent the day focused on longer runs. Valtteri Bottas started a race simulation after lunch but it was interrupted by a visit to the Williams garage and Hulkenberg’s stoppage. He then continued the long run before stopping at Turn 4 himself, though it did not end his day. It was obvious Williams was not chasing times and his race simulation and 129 laps was an impressive way to round off the second test.

Sebastian Vettel’s second day this week in the Ferrari garnered a solid 76-lap haul, though his day was punctuated by several long spells in the garage. Ferrari still has plenty of reasons to be optimistic after eight solid days of testing so far. Felipe Nasr’s day was blighted by an early pit-lane stoppage which kept him in the garage for an extended period before lunch, though he did recover to record 73 laps. Sainz’s spin ended his day after 88 laps, while Hulkenberg finished his first F1 run of the year with 36 laps. Force India hopes to arrive at the third test with this season’s challenger but will have gained valuable 2015 tyre data from this week’s test.

Day 4 Times:
1. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:24.067 111 laps
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.321 131 laps
3. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:24.941 104 laps
4. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:24.956 73 laps
5. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:25.345 129 laps
6. Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:25.605 88 laps
7. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:26.312 76 laps
8. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:26.591 36 laps
9. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:27.956 20 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Barcelona Test: Day 2: Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo edges Kimi Raikkonen

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo narrowly outpaced Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Williams’ Felipe Massa on the second day of the second pre-season test.

The three were separated by less than 0.1 seconds at the halfway point of Formula 1’s preparations for the new season.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg of world champions Mercedes finished fifth and sixth fastest.

It was a better day for struggling McLaren-Honda, who ran problem-free.

Fernando Alonso set the sixth-fastest time despite a cobbled-together fix for an engine problem that had ended team-mate Jenson Button’s efforts on Thursday after just 21 laps.

Alonso completed more than 50 laps – by far the team’s biggest single-day mileage of the winter – and set relatively competitive lap times, despite the engine being down on power and carrying a known problem.

Honda had warned on Thursday that the temporary fix they had put in place on the energy recovery system could well fail again on Friday. A permanent redesign of the faulty part will be ready for Saturday, when Button is back in the car.

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said: “It is good to finally put some laps and get the programme running. We did more than expected today and caught up on the programme.”

He added that the team were going through data-analysis programmes, including checking how the car behaved and reacting to set-up changes, and it was “so far so good”.

Ricciardo’s pace-setting time was the fastest of the winter at this track, beating that set by Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado on Thursday by nearly half a second.

The Australian was 0.01s quicker than Raikkonen, with Massa a further 0.088s adrift. All were running on the ‘soft’ tyre at the time, as was Alonso on his best lap.

Hamilton completed a race simulation run in the afternoon at the same time as Ricciardo and set his fastest lap – only 0.349s off the Red Bull – on the medium tyre, which is said to be about 1.2 seconds a lap slower than the soft.

Both times were set on similar-length short runs, which suggests the Mercedes continues to have a significant advantage over the rest of the field – as most F1 insiders believed already to be the case.

Rosberg’s best time – 0.982s behind Ricciardo – was also set on the medium tyre.

The German stopped running at lunch time to rest a neck injury and handed over to Hamilton, who had only partially recovered from a fever that curtailed his running on Thursday.

All the teams confirmed as participants in this year’s championship are at the test, where Britain’s Jolyon Palmer was getting his first taste of the new Lotus.

The GP2 champion, the team’s reserve driver, was seventh fastest.

Pre-season testing times are unreliable indicators of true competitiveness as the teams do not publish the fuel loads they are using, which have a dramatic effect on lap time.

Day Two Times:

1 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 1:24.574
2 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:24.584
3 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams-Mercedes 1:24.672
4 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India-Mercedes 1:24.702*
5 Lewis Hamilton (GB) Mercedes 1:24.932
6 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Mercedes 1:25.556
7 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren-Honda 1:25.961
8 Jolyon Palmer (GB) Lotus-Mercedes 1:26.280
9 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 1:27.344
10 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Toro Rosso-Renault 1:28.945
* 2014 car

Read more at BBC Sport

F1: Jerez Test Day 3: Nasr quickest as McLaren-Honda makes limited progress

The third day of pre-season testing in Jerez saw Sauber’s Felipe Nasr at the top of the timesheets, while McLaren made limited progress with its new Honda-powered MP4-30 and Red Bull were delayed by a lengthily Renault engine change.

Of more significance to Sauber will be the 108 laps completed by Nasr as his lap time was still 0.5s shy of the benchmark set by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on Monday. However, the quick lap will go some way to boosting his confidence after spinning into the gravel early in the session. The track was damp at the start of the morning but slowly dried under overcast skies to allow slick running for the majority of the day. Nasr’s nearest competitor was Kimi Raikkonen, who got his first taste of the Ferrari SF15-T. After two days of improvement with Vettel at the wheel, the Ferrari lap count increased again to 92 despite a slow start.

With the Mercedes W06’s Monday water leak fixed, Nico Rosberg added another 151 to his count on Tuesday to bring his combined total to 308 over two days in the car this week. The day was not quite faultless as the engine shutdown during one of his runs around lunch, but it did not keep the car in the pits for long. For what it’s worth, he set the third fastest time, 0.232s off Nasr’s time.

day3-rosberg-issues

McLaren had a productive morning, with Fernando Alonso matching the lap count of the previous two days in the first two hours, eventually finishing the day on 31. However, a loss of cooling water pressure that required a lengthily investigation of the Honda power unit and ended the day early.

Following two unproductive days with engine issues and a broken wing on Monday, Red Bull had another frustrating session when, after five laps, it had to change the Renault power unit in the RB11. The car made it back on track to notch up 48 laps in total, and although it is an improvement on last year, the team will be hoping for plenty of problem-free laps with Daniil Kvyat at the wheel on Wednesday.

Felipe Massa got his first taste of F1 2015 with Williams as the team completed another solid day with 71 laps. Carlos Sainz had a very productive day in the Renault-powered Toro Rosso with 136 laps, the second most after Rosberg. Pastor Maldonado was back in the Lotus and notched up 96 laps before stopping on track on the final run of the day.

Day Three Times:
1. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:21.545 108 laps 
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:21.750 92 laps 
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.982 151 laps 
4. Felipe Massa Williams 1:22.276 71 laps 
5. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:22.713 96 laps
6. Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1:23.187 136 laps 
7. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.901 48 laps 
8. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:35.553 32 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Jerez Test Day 3: Mileage a ‘huge relief’ for McLaren

Racing director Eric Boullier said McLaren’s 32 laps on Tuesday were a “huge relief” after tracking down and fixing the problem that kept the team from running more than 12 laps on the first two days of testing in Jerez.

Even though the day was stopped short when a water leak popped up and forced the team to remove the Honda engine, Boullier said McLaren counted Tuesday’s efforts as progress. The team is expecting to be running again on Wednesday morning.

“It was very important and a huge relief,” Boullier said. “Ever since last night we are a little bit happier after the last lap of Jenson [on Monday] because we believed we had fixed the issues, but as I said yesterday, sometimes you just open the Pandora’s box and you pick up one and another one is coming. This morning it was just a relief to see the car getting out of the garage at 9:00 and running actually faultlessly for a few hours.”

Boullier said McLaren could have got the car back out on track at the end of the day but the team decided to focus its efforts on Wednesday.

“[Today] was a completely different. The reason why we didn’t run in the afternoon is different. It’s a third party component that created a water cooling leak. We had to take the engine open and everything to change it because it’s in the middle. We could have run, maybe, half an hour at the end of the day but we decided to stop the day and run properly tomorrow. The main issues are now away.”

However, to give an indication of how far behind McLaren is at this stage, Boullier said the team had completed less than 50% of its target for this test.

“It’s not enough, obviously. We are maybe less than 50%. But it’s better than nothing and at least operationally we have covered everything we wanted. The good thing as well is that the car is running, as you saw in the morning, 10 laps in a row so we have no design concept or conceptual issues or architectural issues with the car. The cooling is working, everything is fine.”

Read more at ESPN

F1: Jerez Test Day 1: Vettel top as McLaren hits early trouble

Sebastian Vettel ended his first day behind the wheel of the SF15-T at the top of the timesheets in Jerez, while in contrast the man he replaced at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso, managed just six laps at his new team McLaren.

Vettel finished half a second quicker than Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg in third, an encouraging start for Ferrari despite headline times being of limited significance in testing. Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber slotted into second after a late run on the soft tyre, ahead of Rosberg, who managed to accumulate a mammoth 157 laps – over two race distances of the Jerez circuit and more than double managed by anyone else.

Rosberg had been top mid-way through the opening day of testing but Mercedes were able to focus on long runs in the afternoon and he dropped below Vettel and Ericsson in the final few hours of the day. The German’s lap haulage is made all the more impressive by comparison to his rivals; Ericsson and Valtteri Bottas were the next closest with 73 each. He was beaten to the top of the chart by the 1:22.620 set by Vettel, who recovered from a slow start to record 60 laps of his own in the SF15-T.

Alonso managed just six laps before lunch and McLaren soon reported a “niggly” problem was keeping the Spaniard in the garage. With just half an hour left in the session the team fired up its engine again but the MP4-30 did not emerge before the end of the first day.

day1-alonso

Daniel Ricciardo only added 13 laps to his morning total of 22 in the striking black and white testing livery revealed by Red Bull on Sunday morning. The team struggled with two issues, the first a battery issue which caused a rear brake failure through the MGU-K and another “engine-related” issue later on. However, Red Bull has already improved on last year’s Jerez test where it completed just 22 laps in four days.

Williams and Valtteri Bottas managed just five laps in the morning but enjoyed a more successful afternoon. Though only finishing fifth on the timing screens, Bottas completed a flurry of runs in the final few hours and managed to extend his and the team’s mileage significantly.

Ericsson’s name sticks out at the top end of the timing screen but is proof headline times are of limited significance, with a late soft tyre run putting him in between Vettel and Rosberg. The Swede had triggered the first red flag of the 2015 season in the morning when he spun his Sauber on track. Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz Jr caused a second in the afternoon after stopping in the middle sector, ending a day which saw him record his first 46 laps with the STR10.

Only seven teams completed a timed lap in Jerez as Lotus failed to arrive in time for the first day. It was due to arrive on Sunday afternoon so should participate in the second day of testing, while Force India is missing the entire Jerez test in order to maximise development time before the Barcelona double header at the end of the month.

Day 1 Times:
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:22.620 60 laps 
2 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.777 73 laps 
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:23.106 157 laps 
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.338 35 laps 
5 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.906 73 laps 
6 Carlos Sainz Jr Toro Rosso 1:25.327 46 laps 
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:40.738 6 laps

Read more at ESPN

F1: Alonso to debut McLaren MP4-30 at Jerez

Fernando Alonso will be the first man to test the new McLaren car as the team begin their engine partnership with Honda.

The Spaniard will drive the MP4-30 on the first day of the first pre-season test, at Jerez, Spain, on 1-4 February.

Team-mate Jenson Button will test it on the second and fourth days, with Alonso driving on the third.

Alonso, 33, who has joined from Ferrari, wrote on social media that he was “ready to enjoy the challenge”.

alonso-to-debut-2015-car-tweet

McLaren are taking a similar approach to testing to Mercedes, for whom Nico Rosberg drives on the first day of testing before alternating with world champion Lewis Hamilton thereafter.

McLaren will unveil their new car online on 29 January, a day before the wraps come off the 2015 Ferrari, also via the internet.

Mercedes are to wait until the morning of 1 February before revealing their new W06.

Williams on Wednesday became the first team to release images of their new car.

Read more at BBC Sport