Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

Alonso ‘preparing as normal’ for China but in doubt for race again

2016 Chinese Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso may not be able to race again in this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix but says he is making his usual pre-race preparations.

The McLaren driver will undergo a medical evaluation on Thursday to determine whether he can participate in the weekend. He sat out the Bahrain Grand Prix after failing a pre-race medical check due to rib injuries he suffered in a crash during the first race of the season.

“While I hope I’ll be back in the cockpit on Friday, until I get the all-clear from the doctors to race – whenever that may be – we cannot assume anything,” he said. “But I’m continuing to prepare for the race weekend as normal.”

Stoffel Vandoorne will be on standby again to take over if Alonso is unable to race. He scored the team’s only point of the season so far on his debut in Bahrain.

“Stoffel did a great job in Bahrain,” said Alonso, “and although Jenson suffered reliability issues, it was positive to see that both cars ran quite strongly during the weekend.”

“It was also interesting for me to see the race weekend unfold from a different perspective, which helped me to understand everything that goes into getting the cars on track and learn a lot about the different processes, although I’d still prefer to be racing.”

2016 Chinese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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37 comments on “Alonso ‘preparing as normal’ for China but in doubt for race again”

  1. I wish Alonso all the best and a quick recovery but I would not mind watching another GP with Vandoorne behind the wheel either. Maybe Jenson can do some bench sitting for a change?

    1. Yep me too @xtwl. JB vs FA is interesting but I’d like to see Stoff and Nando and a clean weekend for the team.

      The potential for huge loads on the ribs from the seatbelts makes me side with the doctors though, if they rule Alonso out again.

      1. @lockup – JB vs FA would be great except it’s usually a case of who can nurse the car the furthest into the race!

        1. @petebaldwin The good news is the car doesn’t need any nursing at all. Both of them can push the whole race if their want. The bad news is the glitches are random and nothing you can do to prevent it and it always lead to retirement. Oh it happens often too in the race especially after a promising weekend.

    2. I think Jenson will do the bench sitting next year @xtwl

      1. He’ll be doing this while waiting for his stint in a WEC car.

      2. @bascb So you’re saying the WEC will use banch seats next year? :P

    3. @xtwl Exactly Another race for Vandoorne would not be wrong at all…

  2. Looking forward to having Alonso back in the car. China might not suit Mclaren’s strengths, but I think Fernando would squeeze a point out of this race.

    1. Strengths? They don’t have any, better to say China is worse than usual for McLaren or exposes even more of their numerous weaknesses.

      1. You’re right. What I actually meant was a track where they are more rubbish than usual.

      2. they have strengths… they have a fast chassis, i.e. in the top 3-4 in the sport and 2 fast drivers… any good f1 analyst can see that and does. in china the power deficiency of the Honda engine will hurt because of the long straights. @markp if you cant see any merit in the way McLaren is right now then you do not understand the sport of Formula One at all.

        1. The chassis? Cannot be proved and after years of rubbish chassis they make a good one when the engine is bad?. I do not believe that and the fact some people pedal that myth does bring a McLaren strength to mind…their PR department is world class at spinning stories.

          1. I’ll believe their strong chassis note when I see it. What I see is their high downforce, high drag car, with sub par engine. STR is suppose to have less power than McLaren yet look at them in comparison.

            What they have is arguably most experienced drivers… :D and their backup driver is better than half the active drivers in F1.

            At best we can say they are firmly in the mid team, with budget in place to push beyond midfield sometime in the future. It is easy to see they lack power, downforce efficiency. Their strengths then are drivers and well working race team.

  3. If he is not 100% there is no point in getting in the car. It is not like he is fighting for the championship, why take the risk? Knocking about in 15th, there is no point whatsoever.on a side note It is a real loss to f1 having a top driver like Alonso at the wrong end of grid.

  4. What still surprises me about this situation is not the ongoing medical checks or the “will he won’t he” race bit; it’s a revealing comment he made when the injury was revealed.

    He said that after being released from the track and heading home, he decided with his own doctor to get “a proper ct” scan done, which revealed the rib injury and the potential pneomothorax. How on earth, after that massive accident, was he allowed to leave the medical centre without that scan being done?

    Now the FIA doctor is making a big fuss of the risks of driving with that injury. Seems to me they should have spent more effort checking for it in the first place.

    Gary Hartstein’s comments about his sacking and being replaced with someone who had never attended a crash scene are now looking more and more disturbing.

    1. @hairs

      To give him the benefit of the doubt, a CT scan does reveal more than an MRI and an X-Ray done. I recently had a hairline fracture on my right knee while playing tennis. The X-Ray said it was fine, the MRI test was inconclusive regarding the fracture, and only after the CT scan was done, did the injury become visible. So, it’s possible that if he felt the pain the next day more than the day before (just like I did), he went and did a CT scan.

      1. I’d accept that if he was being treated by the NHS but F1 doesn’t need to save money in this area.

        1. Very true. We’re taking about a man who went cartwheeling through the air after a high speed collision and got out of a machine that was folded up like an accordion. Sid Watkins didn’t spend years demanding the best of the best because these guys were playing five a side indoor football.

      2. @todfod

        a CT scan does not reveal more than a MRI

        They are intended for different purposes. A CT scan is used for bone tissue while a MRI is used for soft tissue. While the CT may have spotted the fracture the MRI would spot the pneumothorax.

        I do not understand however why they didn’t do both taking into account the severity of the crash. But I supposed they have standard procedures lined up for such events

    2. Totally agree! No wonder Alonso was not allowed to race in the following race as broken ribs and a collapsed lung does take much longer to recover from. A scary part is actually that the collapsed lung will easily collapse again if new impact comes within weeks/months of first collapse. Essentially Alonso plays with his health that may impact him for the rest of his life if he goes back any time too soon. Fully collapsed it will and can never open again. Granted, very difficult to recognize/admit if one had to stay out of the car for e.g. 3 months, which for ‘normal people’ would be the absolute minimum. As posted, risking this for driving a mediocre car home for a 10-15th place in a F1 race? I would as most love to see Alonso back racing at the front, but not if that would be the price to pay for such great racer.

      1. Alonso is a Racer and he will do whatever he needs to do to race. He can’t just stop and give it up, it is who he is.

        If you look at the majority of the great drivers overtime, they pretty much all have (had) extreme sporting regimes off the race track. Alonso is as an example very much into cycling, to,the point he was attempting to acquire his own cycling team 2 years ago…

      2. the judgement made for Alonso not racing in Bahrain was because of tests done at the start of the week leading up to the Bahrain GP, rather then on the weekend of the race, as such McLaren pushed to have new tests taken into account closer to the race, which suggested he was fit enough to race. 2 week later, he is even more fit to race and will race, unless his health is again based on back-dated tests.

        1. I know and feel the correct decision was made… I was just commenting on the mindset of a real race driver and their desire and often need to race…

    3. @hairs If Alonso didn’t inform the medical staff at the circuit he was suffering from chest pain then no in-depth test’s (X-ray’s, CT or MRI Scans) would have been carried out beyond the standard concussion test’s.
      If a driver say’s he doesn’t have any pain & isn’t in any pain at the time he is been checked then the medical staff can’t just start randomly scanning various parts of his body, That isn’t how it works & never has been.

      There are also some injuries which don’t show up immediately for various reasons. When Ralf Schumacher had his crash at the USGP in 2004 the xrays & other scans performed at the local hospital (Methodist Hospital thats about 4 miles from IMS) came back negative. Several days later he had pain in his neck & additional test’s highlighted a fracture that wasn’t visible in the scans done in the immediate aftermath despite everything been carried out correctly by the hospital staff who are used to treating race drivers (Its the hospital most drivers in the US opt to be treated at).

      1. Alonso also flew back to the Europe the day after the crash, which may have aggravated an injury that was not previously apparent.

        1. Johnny stick
          13th April 2016, 2:11

          My doc wife said his condution could develop over time as the air leaked in to his chest cavity. Easy to miss right after Accident. But progressively gets worse until it is visible on ct scan

  5. Some Christoph Waltz face by Fernando :)

    1. Hahahahahha

  6. that internet explorer icon though…

    1. At least Chrome appears to be on the taskbar, although scant consolation I agree.

      1. No firefox? Now i know why the team has such problems.

  7. Am I the only one who wants vamdoorne “super sub” to get at least one more chamce.

  8. I think, skipping is better for him.

  9. It’s a shame that Fernando Alonso’s career seems to be riddled/wasted with a low performing engine, and the subsequent accident.

    1. Accident(s). Alonso has suffered several heavy crashes in the past 4 years,,

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