It was one of those unforgettable, jaw-dropping-stop-everything-you’re-doing moments, Fernando Alonso a passenger as his McLaren somersaulted over the track, over the gravel into a wall after colliding with Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas was one of the nastiest Formula 1 crashes seen for some time live on TV.
Hundreds of millions watching the 2016 Australian Grand Prix witnessed the Spaniard clamber out of the wreck, surely all breathing a collective sigh of relief that he appeared okay.
Later that evening on his flight home, Alonso posted an Instagram photo of himself holding the Melbourne Herald Sun bearing the front-page headline ‘Luckiest Man Alive’ reported polskie kasyno online
Talking about the pre-Haloincident, the double F1 World Champion said he extricated himself so his mother would see he was safe and added, “It was a scary moment and I’m happy that I can stand here. I am very grateful and would like to express my gratitude to the FIA for the safety standards. It’s the only reason I’m still alive.”
“I feel fine physically but everything hurts a little because you move around so much at those speeds. The knee is what bothers me most as it hit the steering column but I feel very lucky.”
Although the Spaniard played down the injuries, he was forced to sit out the nest race in Bahrain as he had not fully recovered in the ten or so days between the race weekends.
Looking back on the shunt, data shows that Alonso was travelling at 313kph as he began his overtaking manoeuvre and had slowed marginally to 305kph at the point of impact when his front-right wheel made contact with the rear-left wheel of Gutiérrez’s car.
Fernando survived incredible G-forces during those terrifying seconds
After the initial impact, the McLaren front-right suspension was destroyed, and the car veered left towards the outside wall, colliding with the front left corner of the car, resulting in a peak lateral deceleration of 45G, with high acceleration levels also recorded by the ear accelerometers, showing the forces on the driver’s head.
The High-Speed Camera, which took video frames of the driver every one-hundredth of a second, showed that Alonso’s helmet made contact with the left inside face of the headrest twice during the impact, corresponding with two peaks seen on the ear accelerometer data.
The car rebounded and proceeded to slide along the circuit towards the gravel trap. With front-left, front-right and rear-left suspensions destroyed, the car was heavily leaning laterally on its left side as it travelled over the grass. This left side dug into the gravel, which rolled the car and propelled it into the air, recording a lateral deceleration of 46G.
This means that the Spaniard experienced a force of 46-times his own, about 3500 kg, during the shunt. Few have survived forces beyond 50G without serious injury, and anything above 60-70 kg is often fatal.
The car travelled in the air, rotating approximately 540 degrees (1.5 times) and was airborne for 0.9 seconds. On landing it made its initial contact with the ground on its rear impact-absorbing structure, experiencing a peak longitudinal acceleration of 20G.
This weekend, Alonso will line up for Aston Martin in Melbourne, the venue of his Grand Prix debut in 2001 for Minardi. He won the race in 2006, his second F1 title-winning year. This year, on the evidence of the first two races of the season in Bahrain in Jeddah, a podium is certainly on his radar, with a victory a bonus.
No doubt, before he suits up for FP1 he will have at least a fleeting thought, reflecting on his luckiest day.