Fernando Alonso has special sensor fitted for Malaysian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso’s McLaren will be fitted with a special sensor when he makes his first appearance of the season in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

The device will help McLaren in their investigation into what caused Alonso’s accident in testing and in particular the driver’s complaint that the steering was “heavy” immediately before he left the track at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The accident on 22 February did not appear to be serious but Alonso still suffered concussion, spent three days in hospital and missed the start of the Formula One season in Melbourne on 15 March.

McLaren on Monday confirmed Alonso had come through Sunday’s examination by three FIA-appointed doctors at Cambridge University and would be travelling to Malaysia. There, on Thursday, he will face further tests by professor Jean-Charles Piette, the FIA medical delegate, but these are seen as little more than a formality and he is expected to replace Kevin Magnussen and line up with Jenson Button at Sepang.

Alonso returned to McLaren’s Woking base last week, when he met with engineers and drove the simulator as he attempted to come to terms with the latest developments on the car. He also spent time talking about the accident and examining data. McLaren have consistently denied there was anything wrong with the car. Alonso went through CT and MRI scans in Spain as suspicions grew he may have passed out immediately before the crash.

The double world champion’s travails have added to an already difficult time for McLaren, who have had a troubled reunion with their old engine suppliers Honda. In Melbourne Button, their solitary finisher, was last, and his car was estimated to be four seconds slower than race winner Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

A McLaren statement read: “While there was nothing evident in the extensive car telemetry data, nor anything abnormal in the reconstructions and laboratory tests, Fernando recalls a sense of ‘heavy’ steering prior to the accident. Consequently, the team has fitted an additional sensor to the car to increase our data capture.

“Fernando is very much looking forward to getting back into the car and making a substantial contribution to our collective efforts with Honda, to accelerate the required improvement to our on-track performance.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Paul Weaver, for The Guardian on Monday 23rd March 2015 20.25 Europe/London

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