Heikki Kovalainen emerged unscathed from a big crash on Tuesday morning as the final group test of the 2007 pre-season kicked off in Bahrain.
The 25-year-old Finn was photographed sitting down after stepping out of his destroyed Renault, which had inexplicably spun out of control on the kerbs under acceleration out of turn 7.
He later smiled and chatted with track staff, as they assessed damage to the armco-style barrier he struck and nearly dislodged. A fire extinguisher was also damaged when the 2007-spec R27 struck the metal barrier on its right side at high speed and bounced back onto the tarmac run off area, and the apparent severity of the impact led to the arrival at the scene of an ambulance.
The cause of the shunt is unknown, but it is likely that uninjured Kovalainen will sit out the rest of the day because of the extensive damage to his car, including completely smashed rear suspension. Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella is also in action on Tuesday in a second Renault.
Also spotted as nine out of F1’s ten teams resumed running at Bahrain on Tuesday morning was triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart, while Red Bull’s Mark Webber appeared on track with a brand new blue, red and white helmet livery.
Back in Europe, meanwhile, Spyker and Williams began their own three-day session at the Circuit de Catalunya.