LONDON (Reuters) - McLaren have confirmed Fernando Alonso suffered temporary memory loss in a testing crash last month but played down media reports that the double world champion forgot he was a Formula One driver.
Spain’s El Pais newspaper had reported on Thursday that the driver told doctors testing his recall when he regained consciousness: “My name is Fernando, I race karts. I want to be a Formula One driver.”
It claimed the Spaniard could not initially remember anything after 1995.
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier told Sky Sports television on Friday that Alonso had suffered “a normal concussion” with a loss of temporary memory.
“It’s not as dramatic as you read in the media. Everything is back to normal,” he added.
Boullier said Alonso, who joined McLaren from Ferrari at the end of last season, was frustrated not to be racing in next week’s Australian season-opener but would take part in the debriefs by video link.
The Frenchman said Alonso had undergone medical tests on his reaction times and everything was normal.
“We are monitoring until the end of the recovery time,” he added. “As far as we are concerned, we want him to be in the simulator not to test him but rather to update him on what we have been doing over the last two weeks.”
Alonso, who spent three nights in hospital following the crash in Barcelona, appeared to make a joking allusion to the stories about his amnesia on Friday.
“In a few days the championship starts and we ran out (of) ”imagination“. I propose a game with RT (retweet) to the most creative. #whereDidYouWakeUpToday’,” he told his two million followers on Twitter.
“Keep working good. 30 min bike, 30 swim, 30 gym. Malaysia is one of the most demanding races, and we will be at 100 percent,” he added.
McLaren have said Alonso will be back in the car for the Malaysian Grand Prix, the second round of the season after Melbourne.
The team, who are starting up a new partnership with Honda, have done the fewest laps of any of the top teams in testing and been repeatedly sidelined by problems with the car.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar