Heikki concussed after crash

Finn suffers head-on shunt in Barcelona

McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen has miraculously suffered nothing more than concussion after ploughing head first into a tyre wall at 150mph during Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

After being removed from his wrecked car and taken to the medical centre at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, the Finn was eventually airlifted to a nearby hospital with his neck in a brace to undergo a series of precautionary checks.

Kovalainen flew off the track at the long turn three right-hander on lap 22, the front half of his car disappearing from view as it buried itself in a tyre wall.

On-board camera footage showed what appeared to be a part of the car breaking off, which instantly led to the front-left tyre deflating - and left Kovalainen a passenger as the car ploughed straight on.

Not only was the safety car immediately deployed, but the medical car also went to the scene of the accident such was its severity.

When Kovalainen's car was eventually hauled out of the tyres by a tractor, the front end of its monocoque was seen to have been ripped off.


However, Kovalainen was able to give a thumbs-up as he was taken away on a stretcher before being moved by helicopter to hospital, where he is expected to stay overnight.

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren F1 CEO, said: "He banged his head and has concussion, so as a precaution will undergo tests.

"There are no other visible signs of injury, although he says he is aware he has hurt his elbow."

When asked about the possible cause of the accident, Whitmarsh added: "There was a sudden deflation of his tyre.

"Part of the rim was machined off, potentially by some debris or by something that got lodged inside the wheel.

"Until we get the data back then we don't really know at this stage."


Team boss Ron Dennis said there was a good chance of Kovalainen being available for the next race, the Turkish Grand Prix, which takes place on May 11th.

"There's no damage or bruising or bleeding so we are quite optimistic about the next race," he said.

"I have spoken to our doctor at the hospital and they are quite optimistic at this very early stage that he will be able to race."