Fernando Alonso to return at Malaysian Grand Prix

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McLaren has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will take part in this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix subject to a final FIA assessment on Thursday at the Sepang International Circuit.

Alonso was forced to miss the opening race of the 2015 season due to an accident in pre-season testing that left him concussed and in hospital for three days.

Following the advice of his doctors, Alonso was rested for the Australian Grand Prix, with McLaren reserve driver Kevin Magnussen taking his place.

However, following a resumption of his training regime and a number of medical checks, Alonso is now poised to make his comeback, with McLaren confirming today that he will be travelling to Malaysia.

“McLaren-Honda is pleased to announce that, subject to a successful final FIA medical assessment this Thursday 26th March at the Sepang International Circuit, Fernando Alonso will return to the cockpit of his MP4-30 car for this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix,” a statement from the team read.

“Since his Barcelona testing accident, Fernando has followed a rigorous, specialised training programme, designed and closely monitored by leading sports scientists, to ensure his safe and timely return to racing.

“At the McLaren Technology Centre last week, Fernando met with his engineers and drove the simulator, to bring him up to date with the latest developments on the MP4-30 chassis and power unit. As part of that process he spent time with senior engineers, discussing the accident and reviewing the comprehensive data and analysis, all of which has been shared with the FIA.”

The cause of the accident has been subject to much debate, with the team citing high winds in Barcelona as one possible factor that triggered the crash. However, neither the team nor the FIA has come to a final conclusion on what exactly happened and why Alonso had to remain in hospital for three days.

In the statement, McLaren confirmed that it has fitted an extra sensor to the car for the race in Malaysia in response to a recollection from Alonso in the lead-up to the accident.

“While there was nothing evident in the extensive car telemetry data, nor anything abnormal in the subsequent reconstructions and laboratory tests, Fernando recalls a sense of ‘heavy’ steering prior to the accident,” the team said. “Consequently, the team has fitted an additional sensor to the car, to increase our data capture.

“Fernando is very much looking forward to getting back into the car and making a substantial contribution to our collective efforts with Honda, to accelerate the required improvement to our on-track performance.”

McLaren will be hoping that Alonso’s return can coincide with an upturn in on-track fortunes after failing to score a single point at the Australian Grand Prix.