FIA engaged in Alonso crash investigation

I’ll be honest, I was being somewhat tongue-in-cheek with my comments in this week’s podcast about “NandoGate” but it does seem to be taking a life of its own now that the FIA have launched an investigation into the incident.

According to the fine folks at AUTOSPORT, the FIA have now engaged in an investigation to discover more details over the crash. Speculation has ranged from nothing to see here, folks to all-out electrocution. The FIA said:

“We will be looking very carefully at what happened,” said the spokesman.

“We want to know what took place, so we will be gathering all the information that we can – as well as fully co-operating with McLaren.”

McLaren took control of the message and narrative with a statement but as AUTOSPORT points out, it did not disclose the G-forces incurred by Alonso nor the speed at which the car was traveling when it hit the wall. Two elements that would signify how serious the injury may have been and why Fernando stayed in hospital for three days and now will miss the final testing session of the winter season.

No one can ever be too careful when the melon is involved in a serious knock. If this is all precautionary measures and born from the desire to provide the best care and recovery, then I say hats off to McLaren and the medical professionals but there are some oddities that have left many asking questions.

If there was something untoward that happened prompting the incident, I will say that McLaren may have dug a deeper hole but that’s a big “IF”. I have no reason to doubt their version of the story but if you’re going to own the message and make a definitive statement, PR 101 will tell you never to lie or cloud the truth. It is always better to face the truth and manage the message and immediate remedies than to try and cover something up. I assume Matt Bishop knows this all too well.

As I say, I’m not doubting that this was a concussion caused by an impact caused by an unsettled car caused by a gust of wind given the weather that day and the crash of Carlos Sainz. Having said all of that, it seems the FIA aren’t as willing to take that story and move on and that has given me reason for pause on my ability to take this as writ.

The FIA’s involvement is unique as this was a testing event and they normally aren’t involved in these sessions providing governance. For the organization to “become” involved lends credibility to the speculation and at this point, McLaren really need to take the high road and complete their message and explanation with the information many are asking for. Namely the G-forces incurred by Alonso and the speed at which the car was traveling when it hit the wall.

The other side of this is the failed MGU-K seal that plagued Honda during the test and no one wants bad press. Also, the sport would take a serious drubbing should these cars be found to be dangerous to the drivers if there was indeed a chance to be electrocuted. The hybrid engines would look even more daft than they already do and the recent vote to usher in changes for 2017 could find themselves accelerating into 2016 should the hybrids be deemed dangerous.

As you can imagine, there is a lot going on and the politics get thick. McLaren’s job, in my opinion, is to make them less thick with transparency and I am willing to suggest they may already have done so but the FIA doesn’t sound as convinced and that has me concerned.



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