MANAMA, March 31 – Fernando Alonso will not take part in this weekend’s Grand Prix in Bahrain for medical reasons following his dramatic, death-defying crash at the Australian GP.
“Following a decision by the FIA doctors, Fernando Alonso will not be participating in this weekend’s 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix,” Alonso’s McLaren team said in a statement.
Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, the reigning GP2 champion, will make his Formula 1 debut in place of Alonso.
FIA said that “following an examination undertaken this morning at the Bahrain International Circuit Medical Centre, it has been decided that McLaren Honda F1 Team driver Fernando Alonso should not take part in this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix”.
“Two sets of chest CT scans were compared and it was decided that there was insufficient resolution of the signs to allow him to compete on safety grounds,” FIA said.
“A repeat chest scan has been requested before the Chinese Grand Prix (on April 17) and the results will be considered before allowing him to race there.”
McLaren added: “Following any on-track incident, we will always abide by the FIA doctors’ decisions.”
Alonso said he had battled until the last moment in a bid to be fit for Sunday’s race.
“I tried until the last minute to race in Bahrain after the accident in Australia, (they have) have been hard days logically after such an impact, but until the last second I try to race to help the team after the incredible work they have done this week,” he said on his Instagram account.
“I understand the position of the FIA doctors and now I will try to help my teammate @svandoorne to make the most of the weekend. Thanks to everyone #mclarenhonda #oneteam.”
Alonso’s McLaren was sent into a terrifying barrel roll at the Australian GP after he clipped Esteban Gutierrez’s Haas at close to 200mph on lap 17 of the 57-lap season-opener.
The 34-year-old two-time champion, competing in his 253rd F1 race, crawled from the wreckage before walking away unaided.
Alonso, a three-time winner in Bahrain (2005, 2006, 2010), confirmed he had no injuries despite plasters on his knee and leg, but had complained about bruised ribs that complicated his breathing and prevented him from sleeping well.
It was an accident former FIA president Max Mosley argued would surely have been fatal in a previous era.
Since Ayrton Senna’s death at Imola in 1994 prompted tightened security measures, Frenchman Jules Bianchi, who died after a crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, is the only F1 driver to have lost his life in a race.
Mosley’s reign as FIA (International Federation of Automobiles) chief between 1993 and 2009 coincided with a big safety push that continues today, with the planned introduction of the Halo device to protect drivers’ heads.
“It’s very satisfying to see Alonso walk away. You work hard and it’s very satisfying when you see the results. It was quite an impressive crash,” said Mosley.