Double –time world champion Fernando Alonso has admitted his participation at this week’s Chinese Grand Prix remains in doubt.
The Spaniard was forced to sit-out in the last race in Bahrain, following the pneumothorax (collapsed lung) injuries he sustained in his crash with Esteban Gutierrez during the season opener Australian Grand Prix.
“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.”
Fernando was replaced in Bahrain by deserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who out-qualified veteran Jenson Button and made McLaren-Honda’s first point finish after he crossed the line in 10th.
Alonso continued: “Stoffel did a great job in Bahrain and although Jenson suffered reliability issues, it was positive to see that both cars ran quite strongly during the weekend.
“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.”
Whether FIA doctors will give him the green light on Thursday, or usher Stoffel Vandoorne back into Alonso’s cockpit, is not clear.
AS newspaper, a well-connected Spanish sports daily, said the 34-year-old has improved since Bahrain but still has a broken ninth rib.
“Alonso has travelled to China with his two physios, Edo Bendinelli and Fabrizio Borra, with a specific recovery plan for this Shanghai race,” read the report.