After being injured in a testing crash at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain in February, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso will make his 2015 Formula 1 debut Sunday in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
A 13-year veteran, Alonso would be making his 14th start at Sepang, where he has three wins and five podiums. His last win came in 2012 with Ferrari.
“I watched the weekend in Australia very closely and I was in touch with the team from the moment they arrived. It’s clear we have a lot of work ahead of us but (teammate) Jenson (Button’s) result in Melbourne was encouraging from the point of view of reliability and data collection, which are extremely important,” Alonso said in a release.
Button rolled off 16th in Australia and finished 11th.
Alonso’s returns to action with McClaren in the midst of trying to snap a losing streak of more than 30 races, its worst streak in 17 years.
One of Alonso’s three wins in Sepang came with McLaren in 2007.
“This track has always been one of my favorites, it’s a really exciting circuit to drive and there’s the opportunity for good overtaking battles between the straights and the fast corners,” Alonso said. “Although we are a long way from the front, everyone in McLaren-Honda is working hard to develop the package and keep building momentum with each race.
“The weekend will be tough, but I’m looking forward to getting into the MP4-30 for the first time in a Grand Prix and getting back to racing,” Alonso continued. “I’ve spent some time in the simulator back at the factory with the team, and my focus will be on continuing the development of our package with my engineers.”
McLaren racing director Eric Boullieris is pleased to have Alonso back in the cockpit.
“He’s raring to go and I know he’s been working hard behind the scenes to prepare himself for this weekend,” Boullieris said. “I would also like to thank Kevin for his hard work in Melbourne; he provided extremely useful feedback and, despite not being able to race, has been a strong support in our development of the MP4-30 so far.”