Latest / Interview

Fernando Alonso Q&A: Austria test crucial after crash

21 Jun 2015

It wasn't just Fernando Alonso's race hopes that were obliterated on the first lap in Spielberg – McLaren also lost the opportunity to get feedback and data on the raft of updates bolted to the Spaniard's car. Already well behind expectations, the upcoming two-day test in Austria will therefore be absolutely fundamental to McLaren's long-term hopes...

Q: Fernando, it is good to see you have a smile on your face as your lap one incident was a worrying moment for everyone. Can you tell us what happened?

Fernando Alonso: My start was good and I gained a lot of places – I was 14th or something in that range. Kimi was ahead of me in Turn 2. He was on prime tyres and had a lot of wheel spin. I could see that his car was moving and we tried to overtake him left and right but at one point he lost the car to the left – and I was to the left! So we both went into the wall. I was lucky not to hit him on the head. When I watched a replay I saw that I was braking but my wheels were in the air. Luckily we both are fine. In the end I would say it was nothing more than a race accident – though a bit of a strange one. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Strangely he must have lost his car in fifth gear so that translates into low grip. That is what we experienced all weekend long. 

Q: Was there any chance to avoid that accident?

FA: Kimi was very slow so we were over taking him left and right. When I lost the car I was on the left side. If I had been on the right side I wouldn't have been involved in all that - so I had a 50:50 chance.

Q: Did you touch him before the impact?

FA: No, no, I was something like five meters behind him when he lost the car. I was just unlucky to be on the left side. It was a matter of wrong time wrong place, as I said before. I couldn't really see what had just happened because I was kind of airborne - and when I looked down I saw that a car was underneath me. I jumped out quickly to see that Kimi was okay. 

Q: How are your knees? It was a pretty hard impact...

FA: They're fine. Sure if you make direct contact with the cockpit – I think we had a 40g impact – it is normal that this is a bit heavy on your body. But as I said, the good news is that are we both fine. 

Q: You had some new parts on the car that should have been part of the test on Tuesday – is that a set-back in your test programme?

FA: Of course it is a shame, but the most important part was the new short nose – and we have spares of them. So the news isn't too bad for the test. 

Q: How important is that test?

FA: It is crucial. We really need to put some mileage on the car. That might sound a bit funny after the eighth race, but that's how it is. In reality we are now at the end of the pre-season.  

Q: There are always questions as to how McLaren can keep two former world champions happy when they are retiring all the time – but isn't it also the other way round - that you and Jenson keep the morale of the team high?

FA: Well, I think it is teamwork above anything else that we need now. It is easy to understand the expectations of a McLaren-Honda combination were higher than what we are able to deliver right now – but we are definitely moving in the right direction. Inside the team we know and see the progress – which is probably hard to understand when looking at it from the outside. We are very optimistic as things can change very quickly. I don't know if it will take two more races – or six, or eight – but sure not more than that. Then we should start to have some fun. I am optimistic!