McLaren driver Fernando Alonso set to return in F1 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Ready to roll: McLaren insist Alonso is up to speed with the car.

Fernando Alonso will race in the Malaysian Grand Prix as long as he comes through a final medical assessment on Thursday, his McLaren team have confirmed.

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A crash in pre-season testing meant the Spaniard missed the opening round of the 2015 season in Australia as McLaren struggled towards the back of the grid – with Jenson Button finishing two laps down in 11th and last place after a string of retirements.

Alonso, returning to the Woking-based team having left Ferrari, crashed at high speed at turn three of the Circuit de Catalunya last month and suffered a concussion – with the two-time world champion not medically cleared to race in Melbourne as a result.

But a team statement read: “McLaren-Honda is pleased to announce that, subject to a successful final FIA medical assessment this Thursday 26th March at the Sepang International Circuit, Fernando Alonso will return to the cockpit of his MP4-30 car for this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.”

Alonso practised in the team’s simulator last week as he stepped up preparations for his eventual return. Reserve driver Kevin Magnussen stepped in for the race in Melbourne but Alonso is now ready and, along with Button, will look to move McLaren further up to the business end of the grid as they struggle to get the maximum out of their new Honda power units.

The team’s statement continued: “Since his Barcelona testing accident, Fernando has followed a rigorous, specialised training programme, designed and closely monitored by leading sports scientists, to ensure his safe and timely return to racing.

“At the McLaren Technology Centre last week, Fernando met with his engineers and drove the simulator, to bring him up to date with the latest developments on the MP4-30 chassis and power unit.

“Fernando is very much looking forward to getting back into the car and making a substantial contribution to our collective efforts with Honda, to accelerate the required improvement to our on-track performance.”

Alonso also gave feedback to the team and FIA on his accident. And the team said: “While there was nothing evident in the extensive car telemetry data, nor anything abnormal in the subsequent reconstructions and laboratory tests, Fernando recalls a sense of ‘heavy’ steering prior to the accident.”

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