- Double world champion Fernando Alonso completed just six laps in Barcelona
- Alonso’s right rear wheel became detached during winter testing on Monday
- Incident is embarrassing for McLaren after promising a ‘big year’ before testing
Fernando Alonso crashed his McLaren in the first hour of winter testing in Barcelona.
The double world champion managed just six complete laps before spinning his car at the final corner.
The right rear wheel became detached.
Fernando Alonso’s McLaren sits at the side of the track after he crashed during winter testing
Alonso is seen spinning into the gravel with his wheel missing amid the cloud of dust
Alonso got through just six laps at the Circuit de Catalunya on Monday morning
The right rear wheel of Alonso’s McLaren became detached during winter testing
If, as appears likely, it was a technical fault then the incident is embarrassing for McLaren. They have said that only an upturn in performannce is acceptable after several lean years.
Alonso crouched to study the faulty wheel before walking away from his 100mph fright in front of a sparse home crowd at the Circuit de Catalunya. It was just 9.47am on Monday – just over half-an-hour into the pre-season programme.
The year 2018 was meant to herald a new dawn for McLaren, with the British team having moved from Honda to Renault engines.
Despite Alonso’s early exit, which drew a red flag, he had already clocked up more early-morning milage than last year, when his Honda-powered machine gave up on him on the first lap. The die of a miserable 2017 season was cast there and then.
The McLaren is recovered by a truck after its rear right wheel became detatched
Alonso recovers his wheel after stopping on the track of day one of testing in Barcelona
The team have not won a race since 2013, when Jenson Button triumphed at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
McLaren executive director Zak Brown, speaking on the eve of testing, said: ‘This is a big year. Clearly we think we’ve got great drivers, a great team, a great power unit.
‘The nice thing about Formula One is that people get to see how we’re doing live. There’s no hiding.’