F1: Fernando Alonso 'giving everything' to be behind wheel in Malaysia

Spaniard to miss first Grand Prix of the season

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The Independent Online

Fernando Alonso has his sights firmly set on returning to the grid at the Malaysian Grand Prix later this month.

The Spaniard crashed into a wall at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on the final day of the second pre-season test last month and will miss the season opener in Melbourne this weekend.

The 33-year-old went on to spend three nights in a local hospital on the back of conflicting stories as to whether he had suffered concussion.

Doctors warned that the Spaniard should avoid “second-impact syndrome” while he is continuing to recover from the crash.

Yesterday Alonso assessed his condition, saying: “Of course, I’m very disappointed not to be joining Jenson [Button] in Melbourne in the McLaren-Honda garage. But I understand the recommendations of the doctors and I’m already back in training and preparing for my first race in the car.

“I would like to thank everybody for their kind wishes and support, and I’ll be giving everything to be back in the cockpit for Malaysia.”

With reserve driver Kevin Magnussen set to deputise in Melbourne, Alonso added: “I wish Kevin all the best for this weekend. I know the car is in his safe hands. Even though we faced a lot of challenges in the tests, I am very encouraged by the feeling I got from the car.”

 

Daniel Ricciardo is convinced he can drive Albert Park “pretty nuts” for a second successive year but hopes for a better outcome than his Red Bull debut almost a year ago, following his promotion from Toro Rosso to cover the departure of Mark Webber.

The 25-year-old achieved what his fellow Australian failed to do in 12 attempts and finished on the podium in front of his own fans – only for Ricciardo to be disqualified due to his car contravening a regulation about  fuel flow-rate.

“We’re definitely more prepared,” said Ricciardo. “We have a lot more confidence in the car itself, the reliability, so we’re coming into the race this weekend with a proper plan. It’s not like last year when it was a case of ‘let’s just put the car on the track and see what happens, and hopefully it doesn’t blow up’.”

Asked if he could go one better and win the race, he added: “I know Melbourne would go pretty nuts. That would be pretty special. It’s something I think I’m definitely capable of.”

The Haas Formula One team have bought Marussia’s former headquarters and hired key technical personnel ahead of their planned debut in F1  next year.

The first American-owned team in 30 years will use the Banbury base as their European headquarters, while Dave O’Neill and Rob Taylor have joined from Marussia as team manager and chief designer respectively. Ben Agathangelou has moved across from Ferrari as chief aerodynamicist.

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