Ron Dennis has called for a change in Formula 1’s regulations, saying teams and not the FIA should decide whether a driver is fit to race.
Fernando Alonso was ruled out of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix after failing a mandatory FIA medical test on Thursday.
The FIA doctors declared that the Spaniard’s rib fractures, sustained in his violent Australian GP crash, had not sufficiently healed.
However, McLaren CEO Dennis feels that is a decision that should be made by the team and their specialists.
“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,” he said in the wake of Saturday’s qualifying in Bahrain.
“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.”
Good night! Strange race watching from the pits, but I will try to learn how the team works from this side and benefit next time in the car!
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) April 2, 2016
Explaining why McLaren believes the Spaniard should have been cleared to race, Dennis revealed that specialists that Alonso had seen in Spain had given him the go-ahead.
“When the team arrived here, they brought two scans that were taken on Monday,” he said.
“The two sets of doctors in Spain had cleared Fernando to drive and fly, so we were very surprised to get a different interpretation here.
“We got through yesterday [Friday], and Fernando was feeling aggrieved as he felt so good that he felt he wanted to drive.
“So we approached the FIA and said, ‘if we had a new scan taken this morning and if this scan supported the position of the doctors five days later’, would they permit him to drive?
“They said no. They said it doesn’t matter what the scan showed, he wouldn’t be permitted to drive.”
He added: “The question is would Fernando have been a danger to other drivers?
“And after that the question is really one of assessment and if you’ve got a cracked rib and you want to drive with it, it’s your business isn’t it?”
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