Thumbs up: Fernando Alonso is recovering in hospital after he was airlifted from the Circuit de Catalunya Photo: REX FEATURES
Fernando Alonso woke up from his testing accident unaware he was a Formula One driver having forgotten the last 20 years of his life, according to reports in his native Spain.
Alonso will miss the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 15 on doctors' orders after suffering a concussion. The 33-year-old was briefly unconscious after the crash at the Circuit de Catalunya and, according to Spanish daily El País, he woke up in hospital thinking it was 1995.
Asked who he was, what his job was, and what he hoped to do with his life, Alonso reportedly replied: "I'm Fernando, I drive go karts and I want to be a Formula One driver." Alonso apparently could not remember making his Formula One debut with Minardi in 2001, or either of his world championships in 2005 and 2006.
Back in 1995, Alonso was 13-years-old and at school in his hometown Oviedo, northern Spain. Jose Luis, his father, had built a kart for Alonso when he was aged just three. Alonso has since won two world championships with Renault, rejoining McLaren at the start of this season from Ferrari.
Alonso spent three nights in hospital after his accident on February 22, before going home to his family. He posted a video on YouTube saying he was "completely fine" and had been eager to race in Melbourne but had gone with the medical advice.
McLaren chairman Ron Dennis admitted last week Alonso suffered retrograde amnesia, which he said was "not uncommon" in cases like this. McLaren declined to comment further on the reports, simply saying: "The day after the accident, we issued a press release, the chief purpose of which was urgently to correct a series of erroneous media reports to the effect that Fernando's accident had been caused by a variety of car-related issues," said the spokesman.
Alarm: Fernando Alonso is carried away behind a sheet following his crash
"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 Formula 1 personnel."