Double world champion Fernando Alonso will not take part in Sunday's Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix as the Spaniard is yet to fully recover from injuries sustained in his horrific crash in the season-opening race in Australia, he revealed yesterday.
McLaren driver Fernando Alosno
Alonso underwent tests at the medical centre at Bahrain's Sakhir circuit yesterday morning and was declared unfit to race on safety grounds. He later told reporters he was recovering from broken ribs and had also suffered a lung injury.
"I had a small pneumothorax in the lung," Alonso told reporters. "The pneumothorax is gone more or less but I have some rib fractures, so because of that there are risks of driving because F1 is a very unique sport, unique position in the car and (because of) the G-forces, the fracture could move into the lungs."
Alonso walked away from the crash, in which his McLaren was launched into a horrific series of high-speed barrel rolls after contact with Esteban Gutierrez's Haas before eventually coming to rest against a barrier upside-down in a mangled heap.
Though shaken, he was initially given all-clear by doctors and flew home to Spain. "Monday (after Australia GP), I had a little bit overall pain but nothing too serious," Alonso told reporters at the Sakhir circuit. "And then I flew back, I arrive in Spain and the pain was similar though a little bit more."
A subsequent CT scan then revealed the extent of his injuries. The 34-year-old's participation in the next race in China is in doubt and will depend on the outcome of another medical test scheduled in the coming days.
"It's not 100 per cent. There will be another test that I need to do in the next eight or 10 days, so after that test the FIA will evaluate again as they did now." McLaren reserve Stoffel Vandoorne will step in for Alonso this weekend.
The 24-year-old Belgian is currently preparing for a season in the Japanese Super Formula series and will make his Grand Prix debut on Sunday.
This is the second straight year that Alonso has been forced to miss a race. Last year, he sat out of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix after suffering a concussion in a mysterious accident in pre-season testing.
Alonso left Ferrari to return to McLaren last year, but reliability and performance issues with new engine supplier Honda's power units left him and teammate Jenson Button mired at the back of the grid.
The team have taken a step forward in competitiveness and reliability this year, however, with Button and Alonso qualifying just outside the top ten a fortnight ago in Australia.
The Spaniard, who has won 32 races in his career, last stood on the top step of the podium nearly three years ago at his home Spanish Grand Prix.