MARCH 4, 2015

Former F1 driver says Alonso took 600 watt hit

Officially, a gust of wind blew Fernando Alonso off the track on February 22, resulting in a concussion that has sidelined him for Melbourne.

Unofficially, rumours and doubt are running wild.

Sky Italia, the F1 broadcaster, claims the Spanish driver has confided to close friends and family that he suffered a "major shock in his spine" before losing control of his McLaren-Honda and striking the Barcelona wall.

The broadcaster made clear that Alonso did not say specifically that he was electrocuted, but the report adds weight to the theory that there is more than meets the eye to the controversial crash saga.

Fabrizio Barbazza, an Italian who had a brief F1 career in the early 90s, is quoted by La Repubblica newspaper: "Fernando took a 600 watt hit with serious consequences.

"Difficulty focusing and temporary obstruction of the veins."

Another disparaging voice belongs to Rene Arnoux, a winner of seven grands prix.

"The recommendation of Alonso's doctors did not surprise me in the least," he said at the Geneva Motor Show, "because I am convinced that Fernando had a physical problem before the accident.

"I have driven in formula one," said the former Ferrari driver, "I know what I'm talking about.

"The impact was lateral, more of a glancing blow, and it does not explain the damage (to Alonso). I firmly believe that Alonso felt wrong at the steering wheel.

"That there was wind was then used as a welcome excuse."

A neurosurgeon at Barcelona's Quiron Dexeus hospital, Dr Roberto Belvis, also furrows his brow at McLaren saying it is the risk of 'second impact syndrome' (SIS) that has sidelined Alonso.

"Preventing SIS is not logical if there are no symptoms of concussion. Once recovered, if there are no headaches, concentration problems or if the patient is speaking correctly, then there is no danger of a second impact," he said.

Another theory, he said, is that Alonso's loss of consciousness remains unexplained.

"If there was an unexplained loss of consciousness," Dr Belvis told the Spanish sports daily AS, "it is prudent for Alonso to not drive for three or four weeks. And to continue having tests.

"But it doesn't make sense to tell the media that he is 100 per cent recovered, but he will not compete due to SIS."