McLaren driver Fernando Alonso has escaped without injury from a heavy crash in pre-season testing.

The two-time champion hit the wall on the exit of the 150mph Turn Three at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, one of Formula 1’s most demanding corners.

McLaren said results of scans at the hospital to which he was taken showed the driver was uninjured.

But team boss Eric Boullier said the Spaniard would stay in hospital overnight.

Alonso’s crash happened at 12:35 local time on Sunday, shortly before the lunch break on the final day of the second of three pre-season tests.

McLaren – who have given no information on what caused the accident – said Alonso “left the track at Turn Three, causing the right-hand side of his car to strike the wall” on the inside of the circuit. It is unclear whether Alonso made a mistake or something broke on the car.

His team-mate Jenson Button had been scheduled to take the car over for the afternoon session, but the team have decided not to run again.

Sebastian Vettel, who replaced Alonso at Ferrari when the Spaniard rejoined McLaren, was right behind him at the time of the incident.

The German said: “The speed was slow – maybe 150kph. Then he turned right into the wall. It looked strange.”

Alonso’s former team Ferrari tweeted: “All the best, Fernando.”

Alonso is regarded within F1 as arguably the greatest driver of his generation and has won 32 races in a 13-year career, putting him sixth on the all-time list.

He has rejoined McLaren, for whom he last drove in 2007, because he believed their new engine partnership with Honda would finally give him a car with which to win the third world title he has been seeking since 2006.

The partnership has had a troubled start, with repeated reliability problems restricting their running in the eight days of pre-season testing so far.


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