SEPANG (AFP) – Fernando Alonso on Thursday blamed a mysterious steering lock-up for his crash in testing but insisted he had “zero worries” about his return to the track in Malaysia.
The two-time Formula One world champion revealed details about the February 22 accident for the first time after medics cleared him to drive this week at Sepang.
The McLaren driver denied blacking out before the accident in Barcelona, and also dismissed reports that he suffered amnesia so severe that he thought it was 1995.
But Alonso, who missed the season-opener in Australia to avoid risking a second concussion, also said exhaustive tests had failed to explain why his steering locked.
Alonso, who said he had temporary memory loss but blamed medication, insisted he had no concerns about his MP4-30 car, now fitted with new sensors to capture extra data.
“I fully trust the team. They ve been one month looking at every single component of the car… I think we have the safest car right now,” Alonso said.
“After one month probably I m the most checked driver, medically, in history. So we should be fine.”
The Spaniard gave a detailed account of the crash, into the inside of Barcelona s Turn 3, and said he only lost his memory when he was given medication afterwards.
“I went to the hospital in good condition. There is a time that I don t remember, from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, something like that,” he said.
“Everything was normal due to the medication they give you to go into the helicopter and do some tests in the hospital.
“It was normal. I didn t wake up in 1995, I didn t wake up speaking Italian. I remember the accident and I remember everything that following day.”
– Years of mystery –
He admitted that McLaren were wrong when they tried to blame the crash on gusts of wind. “Even a hurricane will not move the car at that speed,” he said.
Speculation had swirled that Alonso may have blacked out or suffered an electric shock before the accident, which was into an inside wall on a relatively innocuous corner.
Several observers, including Alonso s team-mate Jenson Button, believed the crash was unusual and conjecture was heightened by McLaren s unconvincing response.
Alonso admitted it could be years before the true reason for the crash is known, after the data recorded turned up nothing unusual.
“I m sure we re missing something on the data acquisition which we ll spot in 10 years time when the knowledge is available… I have zero doubts, zero concerns (about racing),” he said.
Alonso is returning to McLaren after a troubled spell in 2007 when he fell out with the team and was embroiled in the costly “Spygate” scandal.
But he shot down suggestions he made a mistake by rejoining McLaren, currently struggling on the track, calling himself “one of the happiest people in the world”.
“With the performance that we have right now it s easy to criticise our team and my decision,” said the 33-year-old, who moved from Ferrari as he chases his third world title.
“But I m so, so happy. This is the most important (thing)… because I m following my dream now.”