Fernando Alonso: “It was a racing incident”

Fernando Alonso thankfully escaped unhurt following a high-speed crash after clashing with Esteban Gutierrez at turn three on the eighteenth lap of the Australian Grand Prix.

The McLaren-Honda driver struck the rear wheel of the Haas F1 Team driver in the braking zone heading into the turn, and went on a crazy ride that ended with Alonso upside down next to the barriers after rolling his MP4-31.

“I’m thankful I’m alive and that nothing serious happened – it was a big shunt,” said Alonso afterwards. “A combination of factors caused Esteban [Gutierrez] and me to end up crashing.

“I was in the car flying and bouncing around – I could see the sky, then the ground, then the sky again. Then, when the car landed, I saw a little gap and I got out quickly to make sure that my mum, who was watching the race on TV at home, could see that I was okay!

“It was a racing incident – I’m very happy we’re both fine, which is the most important thing.”

After being taken to the medical centre as a precaution, Alonso was released shortly afterwards with a clean bill of health, but the Spaniard felt it was a missed opportunity in Australia for the team to score points.

Alonso also feels the team may have lost an engine in the accident, with the car being a near right-off after its violent trip against the wall and through the gravel trap, but the Spaniard praised McLaren for giving him a safe car that allowed him to have such a big crash and walk away unscathed from it.

“Afterwards, my thoughts switched to frustration and disappointment,” insisted Alonso, “because we missed an opportunity to get some points in the first race of the season, and we probably lost a power unit too because the car is more or less completely destroyed.

“We risk our lives every time we get in a Formula 1 car: these things happen, but I’m extremely happy to be okay. The reason I’m still alive is probably thanks to all the fantastic work the FIA has done over the past 10 or 15 years to improve safety, work they continue to do. And I’m also grateful to everyone at McLaren, who built me such a strong and safe car.”