Alonso back behind the wheel after Barcelona crash
Fears for his health are apparently unfounded after intensive medical scans give Alonso the all-clear
Fernando Alonso is back in training and expecting to be fit to drive in the Malaysia Grand Prix on Sunday week. The 33-year-old Spaniard crashed last month while testing on the Circuit de Catalunya, and a spell in hospital was followed by rumours about what had caused the accident and the state of his health.
According to Sky Italia, the McLaren driver "will undergo an FIA medical examination on Sunday before departing for Malaysia". He returned to action on Wednesday, driving the McLaren simulator as he began preparation to race in Sepang on March 29.
McLaren said that the Spanish driver had enjoyed a "good day" and had concentrated "on operational work and practising qualifying and race procedures".
The team will be desperate for Alonso to prove his fitness following their poor display in the season's opening Grand Prix in Melbourne last Sunday. McLaren cars were the slowest during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix and Kevin Magnussen, Alonso's replacement, suffered the ignominy of engine failure on his way to the grid. Teammate Jenson Button at least made the race but finished outside the points in 11th.
McLaren CEO Ron Dennis said earlier in the week that Alonso was "relishing" the prospect of getting back behind the wheel, and he also shrugged off concerns about the cause of last month's crash. "My gut feeling is, and it seems so difficult for people to believe it could have been a gust of wind, but it was very, very gusty so it could have been that," he told Sky Sports.
Asked if it might not have been a problem with the car, he replied: "We conducted one of the most intensive investigations McLaren has ever conducted on the car…[and] it certainly wasn't because of a car failure, of that we are absolutely sure."
Dennis also stated that Alonso has recovered from the accident and that talk of health issues are irrelevant. "The level of testing that Fernando went through with every scan known to man and there is absolutely no trace of anything wrong," he said.
The man himself was clearly delighted to have returned to the cockpit, tweeting on Wednesday: "Great day. Lots of meetings and simulator work!"