Alonso to miss first race of new F1 season after crash
Doctors order Fernando Alonso to miss Melbourne Grand Prix after a 133mph accident two weeks ago
Fernando Alonso will miss the opening Grand Prix of the 2015 season on the advice of his doctors. The 33-year-old McLaren driver crashed in testing on February 22 and has been told he risks a second concussion by racing in Melbourne on Sunday week.
"It will be tough not to be in Australia, but I understand the recommendations. A second impact in less than 21 days 'NO'," tweeted the Spaniard, a sensible response in light of the incident last month.
Alonso was driving at a speed of 215km/h (133.6mph) on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya when he lost control of his car. The vehicle hit a wall and the Spaniard suffered two blows to his head in the impact. Airlifted to hospital, the two-times world champion was kept under observation for three nights.
McLaren, who later blamed the crash on a "gust of wind', announced that a battery of tests and scans had revealed that Alonso "no medical issue" and was "entirely healthy from neurological and cardiac perspectives alike".
Nonetheless the McLaren statement added that doctors had advised him to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix because it could "potentially result in him sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one". Known as Second impact syndrome, this is when someone suffers another concussion before they have fully recovered from the first. According to BBC Sport, "it can lead to raised intra-cranial pressure, prolonged coma and can be fatal".
Alonso will be replaced for the Melbourne race by Kevin Magnussen, McLaren's reserve driver, who will race alongside Jenson Button for the team. The 22-year-old Dane made his F1 debut last season and is regarded as one of the most promising drivers on the circuit. "Shame about the circumstance but still I'm so excited to be racing in Melbourne," tweeted Magnussen in response to the news of his elevation.
The Australian Grand Prix will be the first race weekend that Alonso has missed since 2002, when he was a test driver for Renault, but McLaren said that medical staff were "supportive" of his aim to return for the second race of the season, in Malaysia on 29 March.