F1: McLaren expect Fernando Alonso return

F1 McLaren expect Fernando Alonso

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McLaren chief Eric Boullier is expecting Fernando Alonso to be back for the Chinese Grand Prix but admitted the team now know they can rely on Stoffel Vandoorne.

Alonso has endured a stuttering start to the season after being ruled out of last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix on medical grounds.

The Spaniard was involved in an accident during the season opener at the Australian Grand Prix a fortnight earlier and was unable to compete.

The former Ferrari man suffered cracked ribs and a collapsed lung but felt he was ok to race through the pain on the second weekend of the term.

McLaren appealed to the FIA to overturn their decision but eventually had to turn to reserve driver Vandoorne to fill in.
Boullier revealed that Alonso has been back in training and he is confident of being ready to make his return in China on April 15.

He said: “He is going to go again for some scans and then the FIA will inspect them and decide yes or no.

“Yeah [it was frustrating for him], but it was a good experience as well. He enjoyed being around and he made some very nice comments on the radio.”

Vandoorne looked more than comfortable in the hot seat as he scored a point on his debut and qualified better than team mate Jenson Button.

The team chief admitted that they would be more than happy to turn to the 24-year-old again if anything was to happen to any of the main drivers.

He added: “Now you know what he went through and he is obviously only going to be better, if he is racing again, which we don’t wish, but if he has to, the team is now confident he can do the job.”

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