Fernando Alonso ruled out of Australian Grand Prix

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Following his Barcelona testing accident, concussion and subsequent hospital stay, Fernando Alonso has now been medically ruled out of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

McLaren issued a statement Tuesday morning confirming his absence for the team’s first race back with the new Honda engines.

Reserve driver Kevin Magnussen, who was otherwise not set to race this year, will now fill in at the track where he scored a runner-up finish on his Grand Prix debut. Magnussen had a day’s worth of testing this weekend in Barcelona.

From the statement:

Having performed an exhaustive series of tests and scans – some of them as recently as yesterday evening – McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso’s doctors have informed him that they find him asymptomatic of any medical issue; that they see no evidence whatsoever of any injury; and that they therefore describe him as entirely healthy from neurological and cardiac perspectives alike.

However, Fernando’s doctors have recommended to him that, following the concussion he sustained in a testing accident at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 22nd, for the time being he should seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors that could potentially result in his sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one, so as to minimise the chances of second impact syndrome, as is normal medical procedure when treating athletes after concussions.

The goal now is to have Alonso fit and ready to make his official race return to McLaren for the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend, March 27-29.

Alonso has tweeted an update this morning, and wished Magnussen well in the fill-in role:

This marks the first time Alonso will miss a race in his Grand Prix career, dating to his 2001 debut with Minardi. He has made 236 Grand Prix appearances and 235 starts, with the only DNS coming 10 years ago in the tire-affected United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis.