Next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix will be without one of its biggest drawcard drivers, after McLaren confirmed that two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso would not race in the 2015 season’s opening race. His place will be taken by reserve driver Kevin Magnussen.
The Spaniard reportedly suffered concussion and a momentary loss of consciousness in an accident on the third day of the second pre-season test. Despite passing all medical assessments after being airlifted to hospital, he spent three nights under observation before subsequently being discharged, and missed driving in the final pre-season test while his recuperation continued.
Subsequent medical assessments have ruled that, while he would be fit to contest next weekend’s race at Albert Park, the risk of further and more serious injuries stemming from another accident was too great a risk.
“Fernando’s doctors have recommended to him that, following the concussion he sustained in a testing accident at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 22, 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,” a McLaren statement reads.
“In order to limit those environmental risk factors, specifically, his doctors have advised that he should not compete in the imminent Australian Grand Prix meeting.”
Magnussen, who replaced Alonso during the final pre-season test, will replace the Spaniard, one year on from finishing on the podium at the same venue in his Grand Prix debut.
“Fernando’s doctors acknowledge that he feels fit and well, and that he regards himself as ready to race, and, that being the case, they are comfortable with the fact that he has already recommenced physical training, with a view to preparing for a return to the cockpit of his McLaren-Honda car for the Malaysian Grand Prix meeting,” the statement added.
“Indeed, his doctors are supportive of that ambition, satisfied as they are that he sustained no damage whatsoever during his testing accident on February 22.”
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