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Alonso making 'solid recovery' after crash in F1 testing

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MONTMELO, Spain (AP) McLaren driver Fernando Alonso is making a ''solid recovery'' after being concussed following a crash in Formula One testing and is staying in hospital for further observation.

The Spanish driver escaped serious injury, but was airlifted by helicopter to the hospital for precautionary checks after his McLaren collided with a wall at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit on Sunday.

In a statement released Monday, McLaren said Alonso is chatting to family, friends and hospital staff as he recovers ''from the effects of the medication that successfully managed his routine sedation.''

''In hospital, a thorough and complete analysis of his condition was performed, involving CT scans and MRI scans, all of which were completely normal,'' McLaren said.

The team will decide later whether Alonso is able to take part in the next testing session scheduled in Catalonia at the same track from Feb. 26-March 1.

Alonso went off the circuit at the exit of the demanding curve three and slammed the right side of his McLaren into the wall. He received first aid at the track's medical center and was sedated before being transferred to hospital.

''In order to provide the privacy and tranquillity required to facilitate a peaceful recuperation, he is being kept in hospital for further observation, and to recover from the effects of the medication that successfully managed his routine sedation yesterday,'' his team said.

After assessing the damage to Alonso's car, McLaren said his crash was caused by ''unpredictably gusty winds at that part of the circuit at that time, and which had affected other drivers similarly.''

Toro Rosso's Spanish newcomer Carlos Sainz Jr. also hit the wall exiting turn three.

McLaren said it found no evidence of mechanical failure on the car and dismissed rumours that Alonso lost consciousness at the time of the crash because of an electrical discharge in the ERS (Energy Recovery) system.

''Our data clearly shows that he was downshifting while applying full brake pressure right up to the moment of the first impact, something that clearly would not have been possible had he been unconscious at the time,'' McLaren said.

Alonso's accident came after a difficult preseason for McLaren in its switch to Honda engines. A faulty seal twice limited Jenson Button's runs earlier this week. The British driver was scheduled to drive Sunday afternoon, but McLaren cancelled any further running.