18 Mar 2015

Alonso to drive in simulator this week

7:02 am on 18 March 2015

The Spanish driver Fernando Alonso is to drive the McLaren simulator this week as part of a plan for his return to Formula One action.

McLaren F1 driver Fernando Alonso.

McLaren F1 driver Fernando Alonso. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The double world champion missed the first race of the season in Australia to recover from concussion suffered in a crash in pre-season testing.

A McLaren spokesman says they have a programme to help Fernando back to racing and he plans to be in a simulator.

Alonso's programme at McLaren's factory will also include him going through data from the accident with engineers.

The 33-year-old Spaniard, who spent three days in hospital after the crash, is also planning to undertake this week the official FIA medical tests he must pass before being allowed to race.

McLaren have prepared a 38-page report into the crash and have found no evidence of any faults with the car.

Similar to a flight simulator used by pilots, the F1 device reproduces kerbs and bumps as part of its mock-up of driving a specific track.

It is normal practice for drivers to prepare for the next race in a simulator, but the session will also help Alonso answer any questions he might have about whether his senses have fully recovered from the effects of the accident.

Sources close to Alonso say that he has been concerned by the crash, the causes of which so far are unexplained, and especially by the loss of memory he suffered in the immediate aftermath.

Alonso is determined to take part in the next grand prix in Malaysia at the end of the month and has been posting photographs of his preparations on his Twitter account.

Alonso joined McLaren this season on a three-year contract worth 55 million dollars a year.

Meanwhile there'll be no German grand prix this year - a decision that's ended months of uncertainty over the country's Formula One race.

The absence of Germany, home of reigning world champions Mercedes, for the first time since 1960, leaves the calendar with 19 races.

Formula One's boss Bernie Ecclestone said Hockenheim was the only option for the July race, but the circuit made heavy losses in the last couple of years due to poor attendances.

The other German circuit, the Nuerburgring, has also had financial troubles and has changed ownership since it last appeared on the calendar.

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