Mclaren confirmed that Fernando Alonso will miss the season opener after consultations with the treating doctors. Kevin Magnussen will replace him and drive alongside Jenson Button.
2 weeks earlier, a crash at the first Barcelona test caused a concussion and momentarily loss of consciousness.
After several brain scans, no visible injury has been spotted and Fernando himself expressed multiple times that he feels fine. However, doctors advised not to run the risk of crashing again and potentionally get another concussion in such a short timeframe. Mclaren and Fernando now confirmed to follow this advice, with test and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen to stand in.
Mclaren now hopes to have Fernando Alonso back in time for the Malaysian GP, which will happen 2 weeks after the race in Melbourne.
"Having performed an exhaustive series of tests and scans – some of them as recently as yesterday evening – McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso’s doctors have informed him that they find him asymptomatic of any medical issue; that they see no evidence whatsoever of any injury; and that they therefore describe him as entirely healthy from neurological and cardiac perspectives alike", a statement released by McLaren reads.
"However, Fernando’s doctors have recommended to him that, following the concussion he sustained in a testing accident at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 22nd, for the time being he should seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors that could potentially result in his sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one, so as to minimise the chances of second impact syndrome, as is normal medical procedure when treating athletes after concussions.
"In order to limit those environmental risk factors, specifically, his doctors have advised that he should not compete in the imminent Australian Grand Prix meeting, which will take place on March 13th, 14th and 15th.
"Fernando has understood and accepted that advice, and the two McLaren-Honda cars will therefore be driven in Australia by Fernando’s team-mate Jenson Button and the team’s test and reserve driver Kevin Magnussen.
"Fernando’s doctors acknowledge that he feels fit and well, and that he regards himself as ready to race, and, that being the case, they are comfortable with the fact that he has already recommenced physical training, with a view to preparing for a return to the cockpit of his McLaren-Honda car for the Malaysian Grand Prix meeting on March 27th, 28th and 29th. Indeed, his doctors are supportive of that ambition, satisfied as they are that he sustained no damage whatsoever during his testing accident on February 22nd.
"All at McLaren-Honda fully support Fernando’s decision in respect of his doctors’ advice."