Fernando Alonso will fly to Malaysia having been given a clean bill of health by three Cambridge University experts, but he faces two further tests before he can race again. Alonso, who sustained concussion in a testing accident last month, spent Sunday with the three professors, who examined all his scans and declared him fit to race.
The Spaniard will now travel to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend. McLaren announced yesterday that, pending two tests on Thursday, Alonso would take his place on the grid. Luis García Abad, his manager, has said that clearing the two final hurdles should be a “formality“.
Mystery has surrounded the two-time champion’s accident and condition since he hit a wall at the Circuit de Catalunya on Feb 22, with fears that he may never race again. But these latest tests suggest that he will return on Sunday in the beleaguered McLaren-Honda. The team confirmed: “Fernando is very much-looking forward to getting back into the car and making a substantial contribution to our collective efforts with Honda.”
The first examination on Thursday morning at the Sepang circuit will be with the chief medical officer at the track, before he completes the FIA impact test, which measures reaction times against a previous score using a computer programme. The FIA, motor-sport’s governing body, had requested that Alonso travel to Cambridge and is still investigating the accident. Alonso has already completed a successful run in McLaren’s state?of-the-art simulator. The -Spaniard, 33, is said to be concerned by the nature of his accident, having blacked out immediately after the impact and suffered short-term amnesia. He spent three nights in hospital and sat out the season opener in Melbourne.
While details are scant as to the cause of the crash, McLaren added yet another twist to the saga yesterday by adding that Alonso recalls the steering being “heavy” on the car. The team have therefore installed an extra sensor for this weekend’s race to ensure the car is not at fault; something they have vigorously denied in Alonso’s accident.
He has been regularly posting videos of his training regime on social media and is eager to return, despite McLaren’s woes. McLaren will be desperate for Alonso to make his comeback because of the psychological boost it will bring.