HAPPIER DAYS? Fernando Alonso towards the end of his time with Ferrari. We wonder if he's now as happy at McLaren after Sunday's crash. Image: AFP
BARCELONA, Spain - Two weeks before the 2015 Formula 1 season begins the participation of McLaren-Honda's star driver Fernando Alonso is in doubt.
Team supremo Ron Dennis addressed the media in Barcelona on Thursday (Feb 26 2015) and admitted it was possible Alonso would not be in Melbourne.
Five days after the Spaniard's now generally regarded as "mysterious" crash at the Catalunya circuit near here on Sunday (Feb 22) Dennis insisted the British team was not concealing anything about the circumstances or protecting the team or its driver.
STILL NO TELEMETRY DATA
It is amid an air of confusion and conspiracy about the crash, with rumours ranging from Alonso sustaining an electric shock to having a seizure. Dennis did admit that Alonso was briefly unconscious but that was because the car was blown off the circuit by a gust of wind.
Telemetry or video evidence was not presented but Dennis did say McLaren had been in contact with a spectator who backed up the team's claim that heavy winds were swirling at Turn 3.
He insisted the telemetry proved McLaren's claim the kinetic energy recovery system (kers) did not malfunction and shock Alonso, adding that medical tests on the driver concurred.
Curiously, Dennis backtracked on the earlier news that Alonso was concussed, although admitted the driver has suffered "loss of memory".
"The CT and MRI scans were completely clear, no indication of any damage," he said. "There was no concussion detected in the scan and physically he is perfect."
DENNIS: 'I'M NOT THE DOCTOR'
He said Alonso was therefore keen to be testing this week but has been sidelined on the advice of doctors.
"The doctor said if you really want to be sure, and you want to give him the best chance of going to Australia, then the best thing to do is to rest him."
However Dennis also admitted that whether Alonso would be racing in Melbourne was currently "unquantifiable". "I can't foresee any reason why not, but I'm not the doctor," he said. "There will be some tests, there are processes laid down, and I can't see any reason why he won't sail through.
"But it's not for me to determine."
As for the media intrigue, and the apparently unnecessary three-night hospital stay, Dennis speculated that the "level of focus was extreme because Fernando is Fernando".
He also said doctors were generally being "super-cautious" about blows to the head in sports, even though the accelerometer in Alonso's car showed a lower than 15G impact.
"He is completely lucid and normal. He is devoid of injuries. There was no injury, there was no 'electrocution'."
The leading conspiracy theory at present is that some sort of seizure may have caused Alonso to crash. Former F1 doctor Gary Hartstein said on Twitter: "Gut feeling? He's had a medical problem that caused him to stop his car. I hope that's not the case."
Dennis did not rule that out but said McLaren had "no data" to support the theory.
He said Alonso suffered memory loss but, amazingly, Dennis admitted to not actually asking the Spaniard his opinion about what caused the crash.
"I haven't had that conversation with him yet," said Dennis. "There's a time and a place."