Alonso should have been allowed to race: Dennis

Sat Apr 2, 2016 5:16pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

MANAMA (Reuters) - Aggrieved McLaren boss Ron Dennis says Formula One teams must decide whether a driver is fit to race, rather than the governing body's doctors, after Fernando Alonso was barred from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Spaniard Alonso failed a medical at the Sakhir circuit on Thursday after breaking ribs in a huge Australian Grand Prix crash.

Belgian reserve Stoffel Vandoorne was drafted in but McLaren still tried to persuade the FIA to reinstate Alonso as late as Saturday.

"Virtually every team sport in the world, the fitness of the athlete, the football player, the ice-hockey player, the skier, is determined by the team," Dennis told reporters after qualifying for Sunday's race.

"The position of the FIA, I feel, is to ensure the safety of the other drivers. If a driver feels a bit of pain, and wants to drive with a bit of pain, I think that’s the driver’s decision."

Dennis said Alonso arrived in Bahrain, after two sets of Spanish doctors had cleared him to fly and drive, with two scans taken on Monday.

After he was ruled out McLaren asked the FIA whether they would have a rethink if a fresh scan on Saturday morning supported the position of the Spanish doctors.

"They said no. It doesn’t matter what the scan showed he wouldn’t be permitted to drive," said Dennis.   Continued...

McLaren Formula One Executive Chairman Ron Dennis signs autographs as he arrives for the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit October 4, 2014.   REUTERS/Toru Hanai