McLaren Group CEO Ron Dennis believes that the team should have been allowed to make its own call on Fernando Alonso’s fitness and participation in this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Alonso was ruled out of Sunday’s race after undergoing a medical examination with the FIA doctors in Bahrain following his terrifying crash in Australia two weeks ago.
Alonso suffered a small lung collapse and a fractured rib in the accident, prompting McLaren to draft in reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne for the weekend.
However, Alonso and McLaren lobbied with the FIA on Friday to re-evaluate the Spaniard in a bid to let him race, only to be rejected.
Speaking to reporters in Bahrain, Dennis said that the final call on Alonso’s participation should have been McLaren’s, not the FIA’s.
“Virtually every team sport in the world, the fitness of the athlete, the football player, the ice-hockey player, the skier, is determined by the team,” Dennis said, as per Reuters.
“The position of the FIA, I feel, is to ensure the safety of the other drivers. If a driver feels a bit of pain, and wants to drive with a bit of pain, I think that’s the driver’s decision.
“They said no. It doesn’t matter what the scan showed he wouldn’t be permitted to drive. The question is would Fernando have been a danger to other drivers?
“And after that the question is really one of assessment and if you’ve got a cracked rib and you want to drive with it, it’s your business isn’t it?”
Alonso admitted on Thursday that he was not 100 per cent sure he would be fit for the Chinese Grand Prix in two weeks’ time, but judging by these comments, it appears that so long as the FIA is happy with his condition, he will be back in the car.
The Bahrain Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 10:30am ET on Sunday.