Fernando Alonso says the steering of his McLaren “locked” during his Barcelona testing crash last month.
Alonso missed the final pre-season test and the 2015 opener in Australia after he suffered a concussion in the accident at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
McLaren blamed the windy conditions on the day for the Spaniard’s off at Turn 3, but having been passed fit to race in Malaysia on Thursday, the two-time world champion says the steering of the MP4-30 caused him to crash.
“We had a steering problem in the middle of Turn 3,” Alonso told reporters. “It locked into the right and I approached the wall I braked in the last moment, I downshift from fifth to third.
McLaren has added new sensors for this weekend’s race following feedback from the Spaniard, but he admits the team has still not found evidence of the steering problem in the crash data.
“Unfortunately on the data we are still missing some parts,” he explained. “Also the acquisition of data on that particular part of the car is not at the top.
“I think it’s clear that there was a problem in the car but it hasn’t been found on the data at the moment.”
McLaren initially ruled out the possibility of a mechanical failure, blaming the gusty wind for Alonso’s crash, but he dismissed those reports on Thursday.
“I don’t know if you see the video but even a hurricane will not move the car at that speed,” he added. “If you have any problem or any medical issue, normally you will lose the power and you will go straight to the outside, never to the inside.
“In a Formula One car you still need to apply some effort on the steering wheel. So, that’s one thing.
“Obviously with an accident, with the repercussion of the accident, the news, being in Spain, a lot of attention on that day and probably the first answers or the first press conference that the team have, my manager, whatever, all the stuff around in these early days, it was just some guess. The wind, maybe other possibilities.”
The Spaniard also refuted rumours that he was unconscious following his crash, insisting he remembers the accident.
“Everything was normal,” he said. “I didn’t wake up in 1995, 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.
“It was Sunday morning, all the setup changes, the lap times, I think Vettel was in front of me before Turn 3 but cut the chicane to let me go, exiting the pitlane.
“After the hit I was kissing the wall for a while and then I switch off the radio first, because it was on, and then I switch off the master switch for the batteries to switch off the ERS system just because I saw the marshals coming and, if not, they cannot touch the car.
“I was perfectly conscious at the time. I lost consciousness in the ambulance or in the clinic at the circuit but the doctors said this is normal because of the medication that they put you, just for the helicopter transportation and the checks that they do in the hospital.”
Image courtesy of McLaren