Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has been air-lifted to hospital after crashing his McLaren F1 car into a barrier at a speed of up to 240km/h.
Formula One media is reporting the Spaniard escaped the high-speed crash without serious injury, suffering only a concussion when he hit the wall at turn three of the Barcelona track.
The Spaniard had managed just 20 laps on another troubled morning for the struggling McLaren-Honda partnership, when he hit the wall between turns three and four at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Alonso’s agent Luis Garcia Abad added that the 33-year-old would remain in hospital under observation for the next 24 to 48 hours.
McLaren-Honda racing director Eric Boullier said Alonso’s accident was “just one of those things that happens in testing”.
“Fortunately, he’s fine, but was concussed during the accident, which therefore required an overnight stay in hospital as a precaution,” he told Formula One media.
“That’s normal practice after a concussion. Inevitably, some media reports have sought to exaggerate the severity of the incident – it was just a normal testing accident.”
In a statement, McLaren said their newly recruited driver was taken circuit’s medical centre where the circuit’s doctors gave him first aid,”
“He was conscious and spoke with the doctors.
“However, as per usual procedure in such circumstances, he was then airlifted to hospital where he is undergoing precautionary checks.”
The crash brought McLaren’s day to an end to round off a disastrous test that has left them well behind every other team on the grid in terms of mileage in testing with just 203 laps completed under a month until the first Grand Prix of the new season in Melbourne.
The other Spanish driver on show, Carlos Sainz Junior, also crashed at the same part of the track where Alonso went off, but was able to walk away from a check-up at the medical centre unharmed.
The teams will return to the track in the Catalan capital for a final four-day test from Thursday to finalise preparations before the first race of the season at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 15.
Results from day four of the second pre-season test in Barcelona:
1. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus) 1:24.067 (111 laps)
2. Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes) 1:24.321 (131 laps)
3. Daniil Kyvat (RUS/Red Bull) 1:24.941 (104 laps)
4. Felipe Nasr (BRA/Sauber) 1:24.956 (73 laps)
5. Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Williams) 1:25.345 (129 laps)
6. Carlos Sainz Junior (ESP/Toro Rosso) 1:25.604 (88 laps)
7. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Ferrari) 1:26.312 (76 laps)
8. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Force India) 1:26.591 (36 laps)
9. Fernando Alonso (ESP/McLaren) 1:27.956 (20 laps)
– with AAP