MONZA, Italy — Although he escaped serious injury and is due to race at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso woke up on Tuesday with back pain following his first corner accident at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The dramatic crash saw his McLaren launched over the top of Charles Leclerc’s Sauber after being hit in the rear by Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault. Alonso’s front right tyre clipped the Halo head protection of Leclerc’s Sauber before landing in the run-off area and skidding to a halt.
That none of the drivers were seriously injured is testament to the safety of modern Formula One cars, but Alonso admitted he felt some back pain when he woke up two days later.
“Honestly, the only painful day was Tuesday. I think on Sunday I was fine, on Monday I was more or less OK but on Tuesday when I woke up I had my back… I felt a little bit sore and a little bit of a pain there. But yesterday was fine and today is fine, so it was all OK after that.”
Alonso’s car did not escape unharmed however, and he will race with a replacement McLaren chassis in Monza this weekend.
“I need a new chassis unfortunately,” he said. “I think it’s a chassis I used anyway in winter testing or the first races, so it’s something that we already raced with but it’s a new chassis. On the engine side we think it could be OK but we will probably find out tomorrow in FP1!
“We want to put it in tomorrow to run on Friday and confirm that everything’s OK. There were some concerns on Sunday, then Monday and Tuesday they checked everything properly and it seems OK so hopefully we can run still with that engine. But the full car, not only the chassis but also the floor, the front wing — things we are limited on parts as well — have gone. It was quite expensive.”
There was speculation after the accident whether the Halo had saved Leclerc’s life by deflecting Alonso’s car, but while the video evidence remains inconclusive, the two-time world champion said there was little doubt that Halo is good for F1.
“It’s difficult to be 100% sure where my front tire will land on Charles’ cockpit, but I would like not to know or not to even think. If it’s the head or if it’s the hands or the steering wheel or whatever in the cockpit that my front tire could hit the Sauber, it’s good to have the Halo and have this doubt.
“Because it’s a quite fragile part of the car, the cockpit area, and I think the Halo did what it’s supposed to do. Even after seeing the replays I think we should all be happy and have no concerns about the Halo.”