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Kovalainen safe and well after high-speed accident in Spain 27 Apr 2008

The car of Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Mclaren MP4-23 is removed. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 27 April 2008 The medical helicopter leaves with Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 27 April 2008 Kovalainen suffers a high-speed failure

McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen was taken by medical helicopter to a Barcelona hospital for precautionary checks after crashing heavily midway through Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

Kovalainen plunged off the circuit at speed at Turn Nine after a failure on the front-left of the car, which ended up buried deep in the tyre wall as a result. A lengthy safety-car period followed and culminated with the Finn being stretchered away to the medical centre, waving to the crowd as he went.

After an initial examination ruled out serious injury, he was then airlifted to the Hospital General de Catalunya in Sant Cugat del Valles where he will remain overnight for observation.

“He has no broken bones and CT scans performed at the hospital confirm that he has no head injuries and the team is optimistic that he will make a full recovery over the next few days,” reported McLaren team boss Ron Dennis. “Subject to the results of an FIA medical examination we hope that he will be able to compete in the Turkish Grand Prix.”

The precise cause of the accident is not yet known. “Our data shows evidence of a sudden tyre deflation shortly before the accident, but it is still too early to identify what triggered that deflation other than to say that it is likely to have been the result of a wheel rim failure,” explained Dennis.

“The impact was a relatively heavy one, but our car’s passive safety devices, designed in compliance with the FIA’s safety regulations, protected the driver in the way they were intended to do. Equally, I would like to pay tribute to the FIA medical team, whose work was both rapid and efficient. Finally, the local Spanish marshals also did an excellent job.”

Kovalainen’s team mate Lewis Hamilton kept in constant radio contact with the team regarding his colleague’s condition for the remainder of the race, which saw the British driver finish a convincing third behind the two Ferraris.