Madrid: Fernando Alonso suffered memory loss so severe after his recent pre-season testing crash that he forgot he was a Formula One driver, according to a Spanish newspaper.
The national newspaper El Pais claims McLaren driver Alonso thought it was 1995 when first questioned by doctors after the incident in Barcelona on February 22.
It reports the Spaniard responding to routine questions about his identity by saying: “My name is Fernando, I race karts and I want to be a Formula One driver.”
Alonso began his Formula One career in 2001, and according to the Spanish newspaper report he had no initial recollection of his drives for Minardi, Renault, McLaren and Ferrari, before his memory returned.
The two-time F1 champion sustained concussion and has been ruled out of the season-opening Australian GP, which takes place next week.
McLaren are optimistic Alonso will be ready to race by the Malaysian GP at the end of March, with the driver’s doctors said by the team to be “satisfied... he sustained no damage whatsoever” in the crash.