LONDON (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso will race in Sunday’s Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix providing he passes final fitness tests at the Sepang circuit, his McLaren team said on Monday.
The assessment, to be carried out by the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA), is scheduled for Thursday.
Spanish media reported on Sunday that the double world champion, who spent time in the team’s simulator last week, had been cleared to travel to Malaysia after passing memory and reflex tests in England.
Alonso suffered concussion after crashing in testing in Barcelona last month, missing the March 15 Australian season-opener.
Malaysia is the second round of the season and Alonso’s manager has said the final checks should be a formality.
“Since his Barcelona testing accident, Fernando has followed a rigorous, specialized training program, designed and closely monitored by leading sports scientists, to ensure his safe and timely return to racing,” McLaren said in a statement.
The team said Alonso had also spent time with senior engineers, discussing the accident and reviewing data and analysis.
“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,” the team said.
“Consequently, the team has fitted an additional sensor to the car, to increase our data capture.”
The Spaniard can expect a hard weekend in sweltering Sepang, with McLaren, who have not won a race since 2012, several seconds off the pace in Australia.
Jenson Button finished last and was lapped in Melbourne after the Briton and Danish team mate Kevin Magnussen qualified on the back row.
Alonso is returning to McLaren, the team he drove for in 2007, after five years at Ferrari and at the start of a new Honda-powered era for the former champions.
The 33-year-old suffered temporary memory loss in his crash, with some reports suggesting he had forgotten in the immediate aftermath that he was a Formula One driver and could not initially remember anything after 1995.
McLaren have played down those reports.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond