Dennis: Teams should decide on driver fitness


Rebuffed by the FIA in terms of having Thursday's decision overruled and Fernando Alonso allowed to participate in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Ron Dennis insists it should be the teams and drivers themselves who decide on whether a drivers is fit to drive.

On Thursday the FIA deemed Alonso unfit to drive, claiming that "following an examination at the Bahrain circuit's Medical Centre, two sets of chest CT scans were compared and it was decided on safety grounds that there was insufficient resolution of the signs to allow him to compete on safety grounds".

Indeed, the FIA advised that there would be a repeat chest scan ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.

Speaking shortly after, Alonso revealed he had suffered cracked ribs in the accident and agreed with the FIA's decision.

However, the MP4-31's performance on Friday, when Jenson Button finished third quickest in FP2, appeared to cause a change of heart, Dennis, who has no official role within the McLaren F1 team, and team manager Dave Redding meeting with the FIA to ask if the Spaniard be allowed to race.

Their request turned down, Dennis told reporters that the system whereby the FIA judges driver fitness is wrong, and that teams should decide.

"In 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. "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.

Referring to his eleventh hour request of the FIA for Alonso to be allowed to drive, he said: "They said no. It doesn't matter what the scan showed he wouldn't be permitted to drive.

"The question is would Fernando have been a danger to other drivers?" he continued. "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?

We go to the world's experts for opinions," he added. "I don't think the FIA has the ability to field every single expert that's appropriate."

Fact is however, that on Thursday Alonso was in full agreement with the FIA's decision, the Spaniard revealing that initial checks back home revealed a small pneumothorax and whilst this cleared there was the question of the cracked ribs.

"Because of that there is some risk of driving and the g-forces could move (the ribs) into the lung," he warned. "It is not like a broken leg or arm where you can deal with the pain, in the chest, where there are organs, we cannot do much more."

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Published: 03/04/2016
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