Alonso upbeat despite crash during pre-season testing

A wheel came off his new car, but McLaren driver Fernando Alonso shrugged off the incident during the first day of pre-season testing on Monday.

The 36-year-old Spaniard had completed just six laps when he ended up in the gravel after the right rear wheel came off at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

Alonso remained cheerful after the incident that the team blamed on a simple wheel nut and said it was no big deal, although he lost about three hours of track time while the damage was dealt with.

"So far, so good," said the double world champion, whose team are expected to be far more competitive since this year's switch to Renault engines.

"The car was running fine, the engine was running fine. I think there is a huge potential in the McLaren Renault team," added Alonso, who went on to clock 49 laps after the wheel-nut issue was fixed.

Asked what had gone through his mind when the car crashed, he grinned, saying: "That it was a good day for you guys. I thought exactly that. This is a very, very small problem but very graphic, very obvious.

"A car in the gravel makes a big thing and there are six teams in the garage with the door closed and the car in pieces but nobody sees it. There are a lot of teams with big trouble and us with a wheel nut, we will make the story of the day." - AFP