From horror crashes at Interlagos and Spa to Barcelona and Melbourne, it is safe to say Alonso has probably used up a decent portion of his nine lives. In this exclusive feature, we go inside the epic crashes of one of the greats of Formula One.
Brazil 2003 – The First Big One
After Mark Webber spectacularly left the track on lap 54 of the Brazilian Grand Prix and hit a concrete wall, no one could foresee the horrific chain of events that would follow. Several seconds later, Fernando Alonso exited the final corner of the Autódromo José Carlos Pace at 150 mph as one of Webber’s tires was still bouncing around the track. The Spanish sensation – who was labeled at the time as a potential rival to Michael Schumacher – struck the tire before veering left into a concrete wall, shattering the Renault chassis and effectively ending the race.
“I still feel a bit dazed, but it’s nothing serious. I am lucky to have got off so lightly, and I’m going to rest for a few days. The impact was massive, and this is by far the worst accident of my career.”
Alonso was taken to hospital with a concussion and knee injuries, although he was able to start the following race.
Spa 2012 – Lucky Not To Lose His Head
In what will be remembered as one of the greatest seasons in Formula One, Fernando Alonso headed into the second half of the 2012 championship leading the standings in an uncompetitive Ferrari. His driving that year was nothing short of genius, but the same couldn’t be said of French newcomer Romain Grosjean.
Grosjean mistimed his breaking point and clipped Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren Mercedes before his car was catapulted into the car, missing Alonso’s head by a matter of inches and nearly decapitating him.
“I’m also lucky that I can be in the car in five days at Monza because looking at the image, we were turning in so you could have a problem with your hands or even your head because [Grosjean’s] car was so close.”
Barcelona 2015 – Still A Mystery
When the news broke that Fernando Alonso was in a critical but stable condition after a pre-season testing accident, conspiracy theories began to circle that either the Spaniard has suffered a seizure at the wheel, or he’d been electrocuted by his new McLaren-Honda power unit.
Alonso was reported to have suffered memory loss after the accident, although conflicting reports and undisclosed information has made the accident all the more mysterious.
Melbourne, 2016 – Luckiest Man Alive
The two-time world champion misjudged his breaking point and clipped Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas at full racing speed heading into turn three of the Australian Grand Prix. The impact vaulted Alonso’s McLaren into the concrete barrier, smashing it to pieces before it flipped and flew into another barrier some fifty yards away.
Miraculously, Alonso stepped out of the wreckage and embraced Gutierrez. He suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs in the accident, although remarkably there were no signs of concussion.
The FIA announced days later that Alonso suffered a 46g impact, which broke the McLaren driver’s carbon-fibre seat. To put that into perspective, here is a list of G-forces encountered in high-octane activities: