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Alonso: China participation can't be taken for granted

12 Apr 2016

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso says his participation in this weekend’s 2016 Formula 1 Pirelli Chinese Grand Prix cannot be assumed until he gets the all-clear to race again from the FIA medical team.

Alonso was ruled out of the last round of the championship in Bahrain after sustaining lung and rib injuries in a sizeable accident at the season opener in Australia on March 20.

The Spaniard has since resumed training and is eagerly anticipating a return to the cockpit, but admits that his participation in Shanghai cannot be taken for granted.

“It was disappointing to be told I couldn’t race in Bahrain, but I fully respected the decision of the FIA medical team,” said Alonso. “While I hope I’ll be back in the cockpit on Friday, until I get the all-clear from the doctors to race - whenever that may be - we cannot assume anything, but I’m continuing to prepare for the race weekend as normal.”

Alonso was replaced in Bahrain by McLaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who went on to score McLaren’s first point of the season on an assured debut.

“Once again, Stoffel will be on standby until Fernando has his routine meeting with FIA doctors on Thursday, and until then we will be readying ourselves as normal,” said McLaren racing director Eric Boullier.

"Fernando has been recuperating at home and training as usual, and we, like him, hope to see him back in the car. We’ll accept the outcome - whatever that may be - and plan accordingly."

Despite missing the race, Alonso said he had been buoyed by what he had seen in Sakhir, and maintained it was the right decision to stay on with the team all weekend:  “Stoffel did a great job in Bahrain, and although Jenson [Button] suffered reliability issues, it was positive to see that both cars ran quite strongly during the weekend,” he said.

“It was also interesting for me to see the race weekend unfold from a different perspective, which helped me to understand everything that goes into getting the cars on track and learn a lot about the different processes, although I’d still prefer to be racing! I’ve always enjoyed driving in China - I’ve won there twice before - and I hope we’ll be able to have some good battles on track and see more progress this weekend.”