Stoffel Vandoorne on standby as Fernando Alonso faces Thursday medical
McLaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne is on standby for the Chinese Grand Prix as Fernando Alonso has yet to receive the all-clear to race this weekend.
Alonso faces an FIA medical on Thursday to deem whether he is fit enough to compete following his horrific season-opener crash in Melbourne, which saw his car mount the rear of Esteban Gutierrez's Haas before flipping twice and coming to a rest against the tyre wall.
Whilst the Spaniard mostly felt fine at the time - managing to extricate himself in a matter of seconds - he failed the FIA's medical ahead of the Bahrain GP after they discovered a fractured rib and partially collapsed lung, forcing him to sit out the event.
Alonso hopes to be back in the car, but admits nothing is guaranteed until he's cleared by the medical team.
"It was disappointing to be told I couldn’t race in Bahrain, but I fully respected the decision of the FIA medical team," he said.
"While I hope I’ll be back in the cockpit on Friday, until I get the all-clear from the doctors to race – whenever that may be – we cannot assume anything, but I’m continuing to prepare for the race weekend as normal."
Racing director Eric Boullier confirmed that Vandoorne would once again be available to replace Alonso should he be required to do so.
"Despite the decision from the FIA medical team that Fernando was not able to race, the team prepared admirably for the weekend, and Stoffel did a fantastic job to score his and the team’s first championship point of the year, in his debut grand prix.
"Once again, Stoffel will be on standby until Fernando has his routine meeting with FIA doctors on Thursday, and until then we will be readying ourselves as normal.
"Fernando has been recuperating at home and training as usual, and we, like him, hope to see him back in the car. We’ll accept the outcome – whatever that may be – and plan accordingly."