TWO-TIME world champion Fernando Alonso has been ordered to miss the first grand prix of the Formula One season in Australia next week due to fears that he could suffer fatal second-impact syndrome.
Anyone who has suffered even the most minor concussion is at risk of the condition, in which a second serious blow to the head causes the brain to swell dangerously, for weeks after the initial injury.
Alonso spent three days in hospital last week after crashing during testing in Barcelona and, though McLaren have since been at pains to insist the Spaniard has exhibited no symptoms of injury, doctors have insisted that he wait to make his second debut for the team.
“Having performed an exhaustive series of tests and scans Fernando Alonso’s doctors have informed him that they find him asymptomatic of any medical issue; that they see no evidence whatsoever of any injury; and that they therefore describe him as entirely healthy from neurological and cardiac perspectives alike,” McLaren said.
“However, Fernando’s doctors have recommended to him that, following the concussion he sustained in a testing accident, for the time being he should seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors that could potentially result in his sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one, so as to minimise the chances of second-impact syndrome, as is normal medical procedure when treating athletes after concussions.”
McLaren added that they would now plan for Alonso to make the first start of his second stint at the team at the Malaysian Grand Prix on 29 March. Reserve driver Kevin Magnussen is set to step in and race alongside Jenson Button in Melbourne on Sunday week.