SHANGHAI Fernando Alonso has been provisionally cleared to compete in Sunday’s Chinese Formula One Grand Prix after being ruled out of the previous race in Bahrain due to injuries sustained in a crash in Australia last month.
The governing International Automobile Federation said on Thursday, after the McLaren driver underwent tests at the Shanghai circuit, that the medical delegate considered him “provisionally fit to take part”.
The statement added, however, that the double world champion would have to undergo a further examination immediately after Friday’s first free practice session “to determine his further eligibility”.
Spaniard Alonso sat out the April 3 race in Bahrain after failing a medical following an horrific accident in the March 20 season-opener in Melbourne that left him with fractured ribs and the risk of a collapsed lung.
He was replaced by Belgian reserve Stoffel Vandoorne who made his F1 debut and scored McLaren’s only point so far this season in 10th place.
Alonso told reporters in Shanghai he felt ready but would accept whatever decision the doctors made.
“The first one I want to be 100 percent is me because it’s my safety. I feel 100 percent, I guess they will feel that I’m 100 percent,” he said.
“The normal thing will be to check after the first session that I feel okay because Formula One is a very unique sport. After the first couple of laps I will also feel if it’s okay from my side and if it’s okay from their side.”
Alonso is one of two drivers, the other being team mate Jenson Button of Britain, to have finished every Chinese Grand Prix since it first appeared on the calendar in 2004.
He has won it twice, in 2005 with Renault and 2013 for Ferrari.
“In Bahrain I was mentally 100 percent ready to race but physically I had a lot of pain,” added Alonso who has returned to his normal training routine.
“Now the situation has improved a lot and I’m mentally 120 percent but physically I’m also 100 percent with no pain, at least in the last couple of days.”
Alonso collided at speed with the Haas of Mexican Esteban Gutierrez in Australia, his McLaren barrel-rolling through the air before coming to rest upside down against the barriers in a mangled heap.
(Additional reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by John Stonestreet)