Front wing failure likely cause of Hamilton-Alonso crash 07 Apr 2008
McLaren have confirmed that Lewis Hamiltons front wing broke immediately prior to his running into the rear of Fernando Alonsos Renault on lap two of Sundays Bahrain Grand Prix.
The unusual nature of the accident - both drivers were accelerating on a straight section of track - prompted cynics to question whether Alonso had brake tested his former team mate. Renaults telemetry suggested otherwise, and McLaren say they have no suspicion of any wrongdoing on the part of the Spaniard.
When I went into the engineers room and started looking at the details that I realised Lewiss upper front wing had disappeared about two seconds before the accident, so he suddenly lost downforce, explained McLarens Formula One CEO, Martin Whitmarsh.
We havent analysed why that happened but we suspect the structure had been weakened by previous contact. To be fair to Lewis it could have broken of its own accord, but that has never happened before so contact is the most likely cause. Theres certainly no evidence that Fernando did anything wrong.
Such a failure would have robbed Hamiltons car of not only downforce, but also drag, giving it an unexpected burst of acceleration, explaining the unlikely impact.