McLaren highlights ‘Heavy Steering’ role in accident as Alonso is confirmed for Malaysia
Posted By: Declan Quigley  |  23 Mar 2015   |  6:48 pm GMT  |  252 comments

McLaren have confirmed that Fernando Alonso will return to the cockpit at the Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend subject to a final FIA medical assessment on Thursday.

Meanwhile McLaren have made public the fact that the Spaniard has recalled ‘heavy steering’ on his McLaren Honda MP4-30 in the moments before the crash leading to his team adding further measuring equipment to the car.

Alonso has spent more time with doctors than engineers following his Barcelona testing accident last month but his eagerly anticipated race return with McLaren will finally happen on Sunday assuming he clears a final hurdle this week.

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test Two - Day 4 -  Barcelona, Spain

The double world champion will be assessed by the FIA Medical Delegate at the Sepang circuit on Thursday after which the team expects he will take the wheel of the Honda powered MP4-30 on Friday morning.

An official explanation for Alonso’s accident has yet to be presented though team boss Ron Dennis continues to rubbish all suggestions of electrocution and McLaren have fitted extra measuring equipment to help monitor the car’s behaviour.

“While there was nothing evident in the extensive car telemetry data, nor anything abnormal in the subsequent reconstructions and laboratory tests, Fernando recalls a sense of ‘heavy’ steering prior to the accident,” a team statement said. “Consequently, the team has fitted an additional sensor to the car, to increase our data capture.”

The team insists that Alonso has been closely monitored and extensively tested and prepared for his return.

“Since his Barcelona testing accident, Fernando has followed a rigorous, specialised training programme, designed and closely monitored by leading sports scientists, to ensure his safe and timely return to racing.”

Alonso spent time in the McLaren simulator last week during which he was fully briefed on progress made since his last on track appearance. The team reports that time was spent with team personnel analysing his accident with all data has been made available to the FIA.

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I think everyone should stop trying to be a specialist at diagnosing something without information. All this speculation does not help…

What if I added my own theory that “the car was too slow to the extent that Alonso started to sleep while driving!?”

I’m sure if they know then it will come out soon. In these day nothing stays hidden for too long.


Hey, the car was so slow the man started dosing… Try driving a very slow car after lunch on a long route or routine of going around the same track and tell me how long before you start dosing?

Bjornar Simonsen

Custom training and treatment by leading specialists..

Imagine the healthcare we all could have if we had the same opportunities as the rich ones.

Off topic:

Why do I have to scroll for 5 mins before it is possible to comment?


Suddenly everyone is a top notch psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, brain surgeon and a mechanic all in one! Where does it say that Alonso couldnt have felt what he is talking about, unless it showed up on the telemetry? Or that if he didnt recall something just after the impact, that he cant recall it now? Ridiculous!!

The good thing is we will be seeing him on the grid. F1 is not the same without Fernando. 🙂


I say give Alonso and Ron the Polygraph test once and for all but then again these men are professionals and partially politicians so we will never know the truth.

Spygate, Crashgate and now Liegate.

Come Thursday we’ll know if Nando will participate for this weekend.

Come Sunday we’ll know how he performs, but then again after 5 laps kaboosh, car breaks down.

Will be sad to watch Alonso and Button getting lapped.

I’m guessing 13 cars will finish the race. from a field of 18 as Manor will be on the track..

Should Manor beat McLaren it will be historically embarassing.


I say make Alonso and Ron sit for a polygraph test, can they do that James?

FIA should make it a crime for lying to fans as it involves millions if not billions of bucks.

Spygate, Crashgate and now Liegate.

With a predictable season ahead Ron and Alonso should entertain us with the best F1 lather.


Hahahaha, all you can do is laugh.

The only thing not funny here is Alonso’s health, which I hope is 100%.


If Alonso did pass out causing the accident, as has been speculated by many, surely ” a sense of ‘heavy’ steering” is exactly what would have been expected. No mention of Button or Magnusson reporting similar problems?


I had alternator failure on a SAAB at 10 mph and shocked to find difficulty wrestling car to kerb


James – have you heard anything about the on board video from Ferrari? As I understand Alonso’s car wasnt fitted with cameras at the time of the crash but the close following Ferrari of Vettel had cameras on. I forget where but someone who’s viewed the video described the motion of the Mclaren as ‘spooky’.

We all know Vettel’s story but the camera is much higher than his view point and recording everything.


Actually I feel the bit about your understanding that Alonso’s car wasn’t fitted with cameras is more important. It’s the camera angle of truth. Where did you get that understanding from?

Ferrari camera view may be helpful, but for various reasons, including not wanting to involve itself into McLaren story or do anything to taint Alonso they may not want to release it or even talk about it. I think Vettel was surely asked to shut it down…talking about it that is. It’s not their place really. Where as your point about Alonso’s car not having cameras, well, let’s say it’s extremely relevant and at this point to me not believable.


@Sebee, Sebee you took the bait! So predictable. Anyways, how about you prove Alonso’s car had camera pods with active cameras. Better yet, why dont you prove that Alonso’s car had active camera pods that were looking at the driver (because you’re a smart guy and you know that not all the pod locations are looking at the driver, and that rarely teams put cameras in every single position). You assume a lot my friend. We know for a fact that there is a relevant ferrari on-board.

I’ll give you a hint: Flavio Briatore. Now use the wonders of google to solve your own little questions. Ask yourself, why has Alonsos manager not been allowed to view Mclarens video footage. I know you’re quite desperate to be right on your theory of Alonso crashing on purpose, AND i’ll be the first to admit that it does seem a little possible. But if Alonso did this and Mclaren wanted to call him out surely Mclarens own on-board would be the first video they showed to Flavio. BUT that’s not what happened is it?

Back to the Ferrari onboard – Surely the FIA must have requested this as part of their investigation.

PS: Sebee, if you think any on-boards, track security film, or other team video is ever going to be released of this incident – well, you’re smoking some very good stuff my friend. I’m more interested in the first hand accounts of people who have seen any video footage of the incident which is more than likely all the public will ever get. Again, see my ‘hint’ above. /Cheers


Where did you hear that McLaren didn’t have cameras?

What possible reason would McLaren have to not capture the camera feed? They have the budget for it certainly and if anyone was doing it, they would be.

Also, aren’t the Cameras part of the FIA approved/mandated kit? Why would a team of McLaren’s standing test without this device that clearly has an impact of aero? And if it’s on the car as a appendage, who not have a real camera inside? And if there is a real camera, why not tape the footage so you can gather more info about the test in case review is needed?

Bottom line, where did you hear anything about no-cameras on the McLaren?


Sebee we all know the rules and regulations about camera locations and dummy pods and how these rules can be applied to teams during testing sessions vs a race weekend. However let’s keep this small part of the discussion about the FERRARI on board. \Cheers


So it wasn’t electric shock. Ok then.

Looking for the rain then.

Stone the crows

Whichever way you look at this the situation is not good. If Alonso had an off in testing and they’re still in the dark as to why it happened means that it could happen again, and if it does who might be injured next? If they do know why it happened and are deliberately obfuscating the reason, then it must be a problem that cannot be corrected, or if known would cause problems with sponsorship or technical violations.


Groan! Is this still dragging on? Racing driver goes too fast round corner and crashes. End of story.


James, I’m a bit intrigued by the issues suffered by Nico Rosberg, Valteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso and I wonder if there is any connection.

Has something fundamentally changed with regards to the seating position this year compared to last year that might cause discomfort?

I know from practising Brazilian Jiu Jitsu just how little pressure is required to the right (or wrong depending on view) part of the body to cause incapacitation. Could something be going on between seat position, HANS system and the driver to cause nerve impingement or similar problems?

I personally don’t believe that McLaren or Alonso actually know what happened on that day. I think that is the cause of the mixed messages and confusion. I don’t believe they are trying to hide anything – I actually think they have dug as deep as they can into both the car and the driver to find the cause and have come up empty handed. So if it’s neither driver nor car then perhaps that only leaves the interface BETWEEN driver and car, hence my question.


Maybe Fernando suffers from Epilepsy and forgot to take his anti-seizure meds? It would explain why McLaren keeps fishing for a reason for the accident.


Let’s hope he’s good so this whole episode can be forgotten and we can move on and race.

This must be q very difficult time for him.

Matthew Cheshire

We just don’t have enough information to know about Alonso yet.

But Ron’s “information” about the accident hints volumes-

1. There’s nothing wrong with the car, it was a wind gust= nothing to see here, our preparations are perfect, ignore Vettel and the photographer saying Alonso steered off the track.

2. The car isn’t to blame, there was no electrical problem. Fernando isn’t injured= This isn’t disappearing, but we’ll claim we know categorically that the car was working perfectly after a quick inspection, even though we can’t make it work properly after months of intense effort. We won’t say Alonso was scrambled after the accident because no injury is no story.

3. Fernando was injured, but it’s strait forward and routine = he’s missing the race so we can only minimise the story. At least we’re not talking about the car, and a diagnosis might stop talk about why the crash happened.

4. It could have been the steering = after Australia, everyone thinks the car is junk, so we may as well blame that. It’s information from Fernando, so it looks like he’s told us what is going on, and we are explaining the witness accounts. We’ll add a sensor to explain why we missed it the first time around. No need to actually find anything.

Flip flops are what the English to wear on holiday.

It’s not a method for handling international media.


I don’t think Alonso wants to be a McLaren driver. He’s barely been photographed in this new kit. Google Image Fernando Alonso and be amazed at only photos of him in Ferrari kit or maybe Renault and it’s been nearly half a year since he left Ferrari. Amazing really that the McLaren Honda PR machine couldn’t squeeze in a few pics for priority at top of the search in the current season kit. Perhapd Alonso is paying Google to prioritize the red kit ones. 🙂

Matthew Cheshire

I can’t believe you’ve missed the chance to claim that Flavio told him to drive into the wall so he could engineer an exit from his contract.


Can you please share your theory about the Alonso strory with us again?


Ah Sebee – there are more pictures of Alonso in his new Honda kit on Google images than there are of Baby darling Sebastian in his Ferrari kit – you’re going to have to start redirecting your salary to ensuring this is rectified. Start the cover up!!! 😉


it is how Google works.

it takes time to rewrite with new stuff.


Because he had so many happy memories at Ferrari? 😉

Honestly, 1995. You’d think that if he had been faking it he would have woken up in 2005 🙂


My dad suffered an epileptic stroke last year during his sleep. Ambulance came to get him. Scared my mum, that’s for sure. He had scans and they found nothing, no tumor, nor proof that it happened. He had to come back a few months later for a checkup and had another stroke, less intense, the night before. Slept right through that one.

Again, scan showed nothing. In fact: if my dad hadn’t told them about the second one, the doctor wouldn’t have known.

I thought it was all very strange.


Sorry to hear that Spencer and I hope your dad is alright.

Could I ask if his age, fitness level, fitness history is comparable to Alonso?

I ask this not to be rude, but to point out that our bodies naturally break down and weaken over time and eventually we start breaking down. However, Alonso at just 33 is at the peak of skeletal bone density strength, muscle strength (due to years of training and driving) and is basically a thoroughbred in tail end of his peak years. While clearly such episode is possible even at his age, odds are significant lower than someone in their 60s for example. The other point is that nothing of the sort has been communicated to us. And honestly, it is hard to imagine why such information would be sensitive or unsharable considering risks involved to him, to others, even potentially to spectators – after all, it’s not out of the question that under racing conditions an F1 car could fly into stands.

Fernando 150% Alonso

Pure common sense! Agree with every word! Wearing red is good for your comments Sebee ;))


Why all this fuss and wild theories over an unexplained crash?

There is no definite unchallenged theory as to what caused Senna’s crash, despite the crash being broadcast live on television, numerous inquests and court cases. Unexplained events do happen that, if the truth were know, would have very mundane causes, despite the consequences.

Too many people with too much time and their hands if you ask me.


“Why all this fuss and wild theories over an unexplained crash?”

Because it’s unexplained of course, unless of course you count Dennis’ top ten explanations.

As you say if we knew what happened it likely would be mundane but until then speculate away 🙂


Getting bored of all this now. He’ll be trundling around the back anyway. Nobody would be have bothered if a Caterham driver had to sit out a race due a crash in 2014 testing.


Best comment. Who cares about the guy that is coming last.


lets for one moment assume there was some sort of medical condition. why all the gleeful abuse?

Also drivers make mistakes and crash all the time. Even Alonso has no issue admitting to it.

This looks like an example of a minor shunt which resulted in an unusual outcome.

Same as the Shumacher ski accident. You would never have expected that outcome. Just that one was a lot worse.


This isn’t the first time I’ve heard “heavy steering”, and when I did hear it, it was during the beginning of the whole incident.

Doesn’t look like we’ll get down to the bottom of this anytime soon. All sides (Honda , McLaren and Alonso) have heavy stakes to be lost if the truth comes out staining them and everyone of the players will cover their arses on this one. It just so happens that Honda doesn’t have to comment since Ron will deal with it for them so, maybe, this is why we haven’t heard a peep out of Honda.

Sweep it all under the rug.


So, the car spun from the wind, and moments before impact, steering got heavy?


The steering suddenly got heavy, making it difficult for Alonso to correct an innocuous spin. And, maybe, he blacked out moments later.

The unusual spin is suspect.

Did Alonso also see red, blue, green, yellow stars moments before impact? Cool if he did. I also saw ’em before blacking out once, so no disputes here.


Heavy steering is nothing else than forcing the drivers to be low on weight has gone too far. A body needs some weight reserves to store minerals, energy, water and some more. Unbalanced mineral household can do nasty things like feeling weak, stroke, memory loss, …

Marathon runners stop running when receiving the message, a driver hits the wall,


It is not a normal accident.

Have you seen photos of the crash?

It is the most innocuous crash you’ve ever seen.

Is there evidence to suggest Alonso was unconcious before he hit anything?


Can you explain the need for a 4 day stay in hospital for a driver that is “fine”?


Have Mclaren fronted with 2 of the dumbest explanations we’ve ever heard?

Yep, wind so strong, and now steering so hard.

Is the context of the crash scandal interesting?

Yes cos FA has moved to a team that is coming dead last.


Lol wrong reply meant for comment above

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