Ron Dennis clears up Alonso crash rumors; confirms he was briefly knocked unconscious but was not concussed


McLaren CEO Ron Dennis has moved to clear up some media reports regarding Fernando Alonso’s accident during pre-season testing in Barcelona last Sunday.

Alonso had to be airlifted to hospital following a heavy crash at turn three, but was deemed to be “uninjured and fine” following clear CT and MRI scans.

However, doctors opted to keep him under observation, and the Spaniard eventually left hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

The team put the incident down to the high winds that affected running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday, but due to conflicting media reports, Dennis called a press briefing on Thursday to clear up the speculation.

“What I will say is a few facts,” Dennis said. “Fernando’s period in hospital was determined by the doctors, not by us. We were completely supportive. He had an accident here, everyone knows that.

“He was, as is always the case with a potential head injury, was sedated here. That was a completely normal process. He had completely clear CT and MRI scans, and at no stage through any part of the inspection process at the hospital was there any indication of any damage to his brain.

“There were rumours of electrocution. There was absolutely categorically no electrocution. In all the previous runs, Fernando was saying it was tricky because the wind is moving the car around. Our conclusions that it was related to the wind was based on his comments and the comments of a third party.

“If you then ask the question why he was in the hospital for three days, it’s because there was a period of unconsciousness. It was relatively short.

“When he came to rest, all we know is that the radio was on and we could hear him breathing. There were no other noises. They say it was seconds.”

Following medical advice, Alonso will not be taking any part in the third and final pre-season test of the season in Barcelona this weekend.

However, Dennis said that he does not see any reason why the Spaniard will not be able to take part in the first race of the season in Australia on March 15th. Should Alonso be unable to race though, Dennis confirmed that reserve driver Kevin Magnussen would get the call.

“I can’t foresee any reason why not but I’m not the doctor,” he said. “There will be some tests and processes laid down in the FIA. I can’t see any reason he won’t just sail through it. It’s not for me to determine.

“We have Kevin here. He will test. If Fernando didn’t drive, Kevin would drive. But it’s the sort of preparation that you would expect us to take to cover all eventualities as opposed to this being something that we put right up there. Why would we want to put Kevin in the car without him having driven it?”

Contrary to the original statement released by the team on the day of the accident, Dennis claims that Alonso was not concussed in the accident. However, he reinforced the fact that the Spaniard was physically fine.

“He is devoid of all injuries,” Dennis explained. “We can categorically say he has no injury. We can categorically say he didn’t suffer an electric shock. We can categorically say that, we believe, the car did not fail. Everything after that becomes subjective.”

“He’s not even concussed. The technical definition of a concussion is that you can see it in a scan. The possibility is that the change of direction happened so fast that actually it was like – it’s inappropriate to use the word – a whiplash of the brain. It didn’t actually touch anything. It didn’t bruise, it didn’t bleed.

“I’m not trying to conceal anything. I’m just telling you the facts: he is physically perfect. There is no concussion.”

Alonso is now resting at his parents’ home in Spain, and his condition will continue to be assessed in the run-up to the Australian Grand Prix.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023


Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.