MADRID - How bad was Fernando Alonso's concussion during the Formula One pre-season testing in Circuit de Catalunya on Feb 22? Apparently, according to the Spanish press, the Spaniard could not recall anything in his last 20 years.
The two-time F1 champion spent three nights in hospital and was ruled out of the season-opening race in Melbourne on doctors' orders. And Spanish daily El Pais have now asserted that Alonso woke up in hospital believing it was 1995.
When asked who he was, what his job was and his aspirations for the future, he reportedly replied: "I'm Fernando, I drive go karts and I want to be a Formula One driver."
Alonso, who could reportedly not recall his 2001 F1 debut with Minardi, was a 13-year-old kart racer in 1995. The Spaniard subsequently became the sport's youngest champion in 2005, also reportedly told doctors he remembered nothing of the crash at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Sky Sports reported that Alonso, who has since released a video in which he said he was "completely fine" and raring to get back in the car, will sit out the season-opening Australian GP after receiving medical advice and will be replaced by Kevin Magnussen.
Doctors warned the Spaniard of the dangers of second-impact syndrome - a second concussion occurring when the effects of the first are still subsiding, potentially resulting in severe brain injuries or even death.
On Twitter, Alonso said: "It will be tough not to be in Australia, but I understand the recommendations. A second impact in less than 21 days "NO" #countdownMalaysia."
McLaren avoided commenting on the new reports, instead releasing a statement that read: "As regards answering ongoing questions as to Fernando's medical situation, McLaren will not and indeed should not take the lead, since his medical care is being handled by the people best equipped for that task, namely his doctors.
"So all we can say is that he is making good progress, and that we hope and expect he will soon be back to his brilliant best. We understand the media's thirst for further information, but, as I say, the remaining unanswered questions will be answered by doctors, not by F1 personnel."