27 Feb 2015

Dennis says Alonso is fine

1:20 pm on 27 February 2015

The McLaren chief executive Ron Dennis has insisted that Fernando Alonso should be ready to race at the opening Grand Prix of the season in Australia despite spending three nights in hospital following a crash in testing last weekend.

The 33-year-old Spaniard was airlifted to hospital after crashing into a wall at the Circuit de Cataluyna in Barcelona, where he stayed until being released on Wednesday afternoon.

McLaren F1 driver Fernando Alonso.

McLaren F1 driver Fernando Alonso. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Alonso was then allowed to return home to the northern Spanish city of Oviedo for further rest and recuperation rather than taking part in the third pre-season test in Barcelona which started today.

The first race of the season takes place in Melbourne on March 15th.

Dennis says he was sedated, as is always the case, he went to hospital where he had a completely clear CT scan and then a completely clear MRI. At no stage of the inspection process was there any indication of damage to his brain.

Dennis says the doctor said if you really want to be sure and want to give him the best chance of going to Australia, then the best thing to do is to rest him and we're not going to go against the wishes of the doctor.

Dennis says he can't foresee any reason why Alonso wouldn't drive in Melbourne, there are tests laid down by the FIA and he can't see any reason why he won't just sail through it.

Dennis also took the chance to strongly respond to rumours about the accident on social media and claims McLaren hadn't been transparent with all the details in the days following the crash.

He says they can categorically say he has no injury, they can categorically say he did not suffer an electric shock and they can categorically say we believe the car did not fail.

The 67-year-old also reiterated McLaren's belief that unusually strong winds had been the cause of the accident.

Meanwhile, Williams pilot Felipe Massa was fastest as McLaren's embryonic relationship with engine supplier Honda suffered another blow in testing.

Massa completed more than 100 laps with his best time of one minute 23.500 seconds the quickest of the day ahead of Sauber's Marcus Ericsson.

World champion Lewis Hamilton was third fastest despite also failing to run in the afternoon session due to a MGUK failure in the Mercedes engine.

Jenson Button managed just seven laps in the McLaren before lunch as the team's struggles for reliability were again exposed with a hydraulic leak.

With three days of testing remaining, McLaren have managed just 210 laps, well under half of that completed by every other team on the grid bar Force India, who hope to unveil their new JVM08 car for the first time on Saturday.

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