Alonso moves to clear up testing crash conspiracy theories

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Fernando Alonso has moved to clarify the events surrounding his testing accident in Barcelona last month ahead of his return to Formula 1 at this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Spanish driver was forced to miss the opening race of the season in Australia two weeks ago as he continued to recover from a heavy crash during winter testing that left him concussed and requiring three days in hospital.

Alonso’s accident was subject to much speculation at the time, with the McLaren team unable to release too many details as its investigation into the crash continued.

This led to reports in some areas of the press that Alonso had been electrocuted, whilst others said that he was unconscious at the wheel of the car and thought he was in 1995 when he came around.

However, the Spaniard has moved to rubbish these reports, and addressed the media during today’s FIA press conference in Sepang.

“Everything was more or less as a normal concussion,” Alonso said. “So, I had this concussion, went to the hospital. I went to the hospital in good conditions.

“There is a time that I don’t remember from two o’clock to six o’clock or something like that, but everything again was normal due to the medication that they give you to go into the helicopter and to do some tests in the hospital.

“Everything was normal. I didn’t wake up in ’95, I didn’t wake up speaking in Italian or all these things that probably they were out there. I remember the accident and I remember everything that following day.”

Alonso then went on to explain that he suspects a problem with his steering column may have caused the crash, with the wheel locked to the right, causing him to crash into the wall.

“Obviously with the team we have been very close working on that and with the FIA, they were very helpful all the times, and we were in close contact, all three parts constantly and yeah, there is not in the data anything clear that we can spot and we can say it was that, the reason,” Alonso said.

“But definitely we had a steering problem in the middle of turn three. It locked into the right and I approached the wall I braked in the last moment, I downshift from fifth to third, and yeah, unfortunately on the data we are still missing some parts.

“Also the acquisition of data on that particular part of the car is not at the top so there are some new sensors here at this race and there are some changes we do on the steering rack and other parts. That was the main thing.”

Alonso also underlined his support for McLaren, saying that he has no concerns about the safety of the car nor his own condition following the incident.

“I fully trust the team,” Alonso said. “They’ve been looking at every single component of the car for a month, they’ve been simulating the efforts, they’ve been doing so many tests, they’ve been changing every single part that they had some doubts about.

“So I think we have the safest car right now, because of all the studies that they’ve done. And after one month, I’m probably the most medically checked driver in history so we should be fine, both of us.”

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.