As we near the end of 2015, we take a look back at some of the best – and worst – F1 moments making the headlines over the last twelve months…
Fernando Alonso 'winds' up McLaren
F1 journalists and fans became turned conspiracy theorists in February after Fernando Alonso was hospitalised for three days in the wake of a bizarre pre-season testing crash at the Circuit de Catalunya. Confusion over the cause of the crash, which occurred at a touring speed in an unusual place, was fanned further by McLaren's secrecy and unconvincing justification that a gust of wind unsettled the car.
With Alonso forced to miss the opening round in Australia, all eyes were on the Spaniard when he returned in Malaysia. Never one to mince his words, Alonso followed his own script as he contradicted McLaren's reasons for the crash, pushing the spotlight straight back onto McLaren.
Fortunately (or is that unfortunately?) for McLaren, the incident was soon forgotten in favour of criticising the team's on-track performances instead.
First published: 26th March 2015
Alonso talks crash, contradicts many McLaren claims
Fernando Alonso has given full details about his accident during pre-season F1 testing, debunking McLaren's own suggestions that a gust of wind caused him to crash and saying there was 'clearly' a technical problem with the car.
Facing the media for the first time since his crash at the Circuit de Catalunya just over a month ago – which left him in hospital for three nights - Alonso was grilled over the circumstances of the accident, which McLaren initially said was caused by gusty weather conditions.
However, Alonso took the opportunity in the FIA press conference to counter many of the original claims, including several that came from McLaren itself, insisting he crashed because the 'steering locked', even if the reason why hasn't been picked up by the data.
“I didn't wake up in 1995, I didn't wake up speaking Italian, like some of the things that were probably out there,” he joked. “I remember the accident, I remembered everything the following day.
“It was more or less as a normal concussion. I went to the hospital in good conditions, but there is a time I don't remember in the hospital – 2pm to 6pm, something like that - but it was normal due to the medication they give you to go into the helicopter.
“In the data there is nothing clear that we can spot, the reason, but we had a steering problem in turn three. It locked to the right and I approached the wall, I braked at the last moment, I downshifted from fifth to third but unfortunately on the data we are still missing something [information].
Indeed, with McLaren having been steadfast in its claim that a technical problem didn't
cause the crash and that the weather instead contributed to it, Alonso flatly denied this, saying a 'hurricane wouldn't have moved the car at that speed'.
“I don't know if you have seen the video but a hurricane will not move the car at that speed. If you have any problems or medical issue, normally you will use the power and go straight to the other side, into the inside. In an F1 car you still need to apply some effort to the steering wheel.
“With an accident in Spain, a lot of attention on that day, so the first press conference the team had it was some guesses, so it created a bit of confusion. You can't say anything for three or four days before I remember everything, but this theory of the wind, it was not that.”
Furthermore, Alonso also says he quickly remembered the entirety of the crash and was remained conscious throughout his time in the car, contrary to McLaren's initial claims.
“I can remember everything. All the set-up changes, all of the lap times, Vettel was in front of me before turn three but he cut the chicane to let me go, after the hit I switched off the radio first and then I switched off the master switch just because the marshals were coming. I was perfectly conscious at that time.”
Dennis: Alonso lost consciousness, is physically perfect
Max Yamabiko: Grounding the Alonso crash conspiracy theories