SHAKEN: Fernando Alonso waves to the news media soon after his still-unexplained crash during pre-season testing in Spain.. Image: AFP / Luis Gene.
LONDON, England - Fernando Alonso will be missing from Sunday's Australian season-opener but the Spaniard remains Formula 1's most marketable driver, says a survey.
Germany-based analysts Repucom said the double F1 champion, who left Ferrari for McLaren at the end of 2014, had retained top position in its ranking based on domestic perception.
"More than 98% of people in Spain know of Alonso and 88% of them say they see him as an effective brand endorser. A total of 83% say they trust the two-time champion," the report said.
The Spaniard is absent from Australia on doctors' orders after crashing during testing in Spain in February 2015. McLaren expects him to return for the next race in Malaysia.
Alonso's former Ferrari team mate Felipe Massa, now with Williams, was second on the list ahead of four-times champion Sebastian Vettel and double champion Lewis Hamilton.
Repucom said Hamilton's recognition had grown to 93% in Britain, with the 30-year-old now ahead of compatriot Jenson Button after winning his second title with Mercedes in 2014.
Hollander Max Verstappen, 17, who will become the youngest F1 driver when he makes his race debut with Toro Rosso in Melbourne on Sunday, was listed ninth.
The Repucom ranking is based on public perceptions of the drivers in their native country measured against eight metrics to give an overall "marketability" score.
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