Fernando Alonso passed ‘provisionally fit’ to race but faces second medical test on Friday
Fernando Alonso has been “provisionally” cleared to race in this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, but the McLaren driver will need to pass a second medical test after first practice on Friday to check he has recovered from the injuries he sustained in a heavy crash during the Australian Grand Prix.
34-year-old Alonso was forced to miss the Bahrain Grand Prix after he failed to recover sufficiently from the horror accident, in which he suffered fractured ribs after hitting the back of Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas F1 before a nasty impact with the outside wall and flipping through the air and coming to rest upside down on a tyre barrier.
Stoffel Vandoorne, who stood in for Alonso in Bahrain and scored his first championship point in his debut, is again on stand-by in Shanghai, but it appears Alonso should be fit enough to return to the cockpit for this weekend’s Grand Prix.
A statement released by the FIA read: “Since the accident at the Australian Grand Prix, McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso has been undergoing the process of “Reintegration” in accordance with Chapter II of Appendix L of the International Sporting Code. McLaren Honda have applied for Alonso to participate in the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix.
“As the injury to the driver was discovered some days after the Australian Grand Prix, the Reintegration does not strictly fall within the text of the Appendix. Therefore, the Stewards have taken advice from the FIA Medical Delegate, who in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer [CMO] of the Chinese Grand Prix and the driver’s doctors advise that he considers the driver provisionally fit to take part in the event.
“Given the exceptional circumstances, and having heard from the team, the Stewards have decided to exempt the driver from strict compliance with Art. 3(b) of Chapter II of Appendix L, relying instead on Art. 3(a) which has been satified.
“Therefore driver Fernando Alonso will be allowed to participate, subject to the provision below. The driver has been given directions by the FIA Medical Delegate and CMO which he is to follow:
“Further, in accordance with Art. 22.14 of the Formula One Sporting Regulations, he is instructed by the FIA Medical Delegate and CMO to undergo a further examination immediately following FP1 to determine his further eligibility to take part in the remainder of the event.”
While Alonso received good news ahead of his participation this weekend, the same cannot be said for his former McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton after the reigning world champion was hit with a five-place grid penalty for changing his gearbox in his Mercedes ahead of the weekend’s action.
Hamilton’s car suffered damage in a first-corner incident with Valtteri Bottas, and a required gearbox change means that Hamilton will start five places behind wherever he qualifies on Saturday, a decision that he believes will make team-mate Nico Rosberg’s weekend “easy”.
“It is going to be an easy weekend for Nico, but that does not mean I can’t give him a good run for his money from wherever I start,” said Hamilton.
“It also doesn’t mean I can’t win the race, which is my thought process rather than damage limitation.”