McLaren boss Eric Boullier is confident the Woking team will not be without its star driver for the Melbourne season opener in two weeks.
The recovering Fernando Alonso’s last-minute substitute at the final Barcelona test this week was Kevin Magnussen, who managed just 39 laps on Saturday before more technical trouble struck for the newly Honda-powered MP4-30.
He admitted he is not sure he would be ready to step into Alonso’s race seat in Melbourne.
“It would be difficult,” said the Dane, “as I have not had a dedicated team of engineers to talk to about the car every day.”
Given the coup of luring the highly-rated Alonso from Ferrari to spearhead the new McLaren-Honda project, not having the 33-year-old in the car from the first race would be a major blow for the team.
Asked when McLaren will know for sure, Frenchman Boullier answered: “Soon.
“I think as soon as the green light is given by the doctors, so it should be next week. It’s not in my hands, but there is nothing wrong (with him),” the McLaren team boss added.
Alonso’s former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa, however, urged the Spaniard not to rush back to action. In 2009, the Brazilian was almost killed when a spring struck him on the front of his helmet during qualifying in Hungary.
“In the end,” Massa told Spain’s Marca at the Barcelona test, “what matters is not whether he is here at the beginning of the season or not, but that he is fine.
“I have written to him and talked to his manager and all he cared about was his health,” he added.
Lingering questions remain over the mysterious circumstances of Alonso’s testing crash exactly a week ago, but McLaren has now put the investigation into the governing FIA’s hands.
“I find that, in my experience, no matter what you do or say, someone will always question you,” said Boullier, “or – even worse – invent their own story.
“However,” he is quoted by Finland’s Turun Sanomat, “there is data and undeniable facts, and that is what the FIA is looking at.” (GMM)