Alonso barred from Bahrain on medical grounds
Fernando Alonso has been barred from taking part in this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix after suffering “rib fractures” and a partially collapsed lung in his 180mph crash in Australia.
Medics made the call after detailed medical assessment on the Spaniard after his second major crash in fourteen months. Alonso will be replaced by the Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, who will be making his F1 debut in Bahrain.
A “disappointed” Alonso says there was “a risk the fracture could affect the lung” and he “respects the decision”. He told the drivers press conference “well, yeah, a little bit disappointed obviously. We want to race. We are competitors, drivers and we like competition, and we love the sport.”
He added “So when you come here and you cannot even try it’s always sad, but it’s understandable and I respect the decision.” Alonso said there are no respiratory issues but there is a small risk he doesn’t want to take and he should be ok for China.
The FIA said Alonso’s chest scans “showed insufficient resolution of the signs to allow him to compete”. Last year he missed the Australian GP after a crash in testing.
Vandoorne is to fly overnight from Japan where he was testing for Super Formula series. He tweeted “About to board for Bahrain, a bit earlier than expected but so much looking forward to it. Will do my very best for the team.”
Surprised that knock out format remains
Leading drivers have been surprised that qualifying remains unaltered for this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Following the Australian Grand Prix many drivers, fans and team principals called for the format to be abandoned for this weekend.
The format will remain after the Commission failed to remove it for this weekends race. Four times champion and Union leader Sebastian Vetted says he is “disappointed” F1 had not reverted back to the former system when there had seemed such a clear consensus.
He told Autosport “Put it this way, you sell ice cream. You sell vanilla and everyone that comes to your shop asks for chocolate ice cream. The next day you open, you expect to sell chocolate ice cream, but instead you decide to sell vanilla again.”
“Usually you do what your clients would like you to do, so you’re not really doing the job by doing the exact opposite.” Most agree with the views by the union leadership on the qualifying format.
Webber agrees too!
Mark Webber says he is surprised that Formula One is sticking with the new elimination qualifying format for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The format introduced in Melbourne gave an anti-climax to the session leaving Lewis Hamilton on pole.
The format which as caused protests after the session by fans, drivers and teams will stay for this weeks race. The former driver and Channel 4 pundit has admitted he is shocked that it will remain and that the sport has gone too far in its changes.
Webber told The Daily Mail “Yes it does (come as a shock). I thought we were leaving Melbourne in good shape with a decision to go back to a system which was working pretty well.”
“But that’s not the case and we are back to the Melbourne scenario which even at its best it will struggle to equal what we had.”
He said that the best format is always suit the drivers and not the commercial rights holders. He says “the best one I had was four sets of tyres and a one hour session – and those sets of tyres didn’t have to be used for the race either.”
He added that he thinks Nico Rosberg has the edge over Lewis Hamilton but they both need to be wary of the treat from his former team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
I can beat Rosberg on pace – Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton says he confident that he has the pace to beat Nico Rosberg at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Since Hamilton won the world championship in Austin last year, his teammate has taken four back to back victories.
Hamilton took pole in Melbourne after being top of all practice sessions but he lost out to a bad start the red flag. Then he was under attack from Sebastian Vettel until the latter part of the race until his second stop. He told ESPN “I’m excited at the thought of more races like Melbourne.”
“There are going to be weekends where we’re a few seconds up the road from Ferrari, races where it’s wheel to wheel and races where they might be ahead. We really don’t know – and that’s exciting.”
Speaking about the plans to make drivers more involved he said “It’s not our job to come up with ideas and we all have different opinions anyway. But personally, I think we need more mechanical grip and less aero wake coming off the back of the cars so we can get close and overtake.”
One of the best cars – Grosjean
Romain Grosjean says the Haas car is “one of the best” cars he has ever driven, after its points-scoring debut in the Australian Grand Prix. The Frenchman finished sixth after benefiting from the safety car that meant his team did not need to complete a pit stop.
Grosjean believes by judging the chassis of the car you can see the full potential of the car. He told Motosport.com “It was a great debut, better than we were expecting, and it will be a race I will remember when getting older.
“It was good for everyone, and good for F1 having a brand new team coming and showing it is possible to score points. It is a very good thing.” But despite a good start he says Haas are not expecting every weekend to be as good as Melbourne.