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FIA should not rule on Alonso's F1 fitness, McLaren's Dennis says

McLaren and Fernando Alonso should have had the final say over whether he was fit for Formula 1's Bahrain Grand Prix rather than the FIA, reckons Ron Dennis

Alonso was prevented from driving at Sakhir due to chest injuries sustained in his massive Melbourne crash.

Dennis and McLaren queried that decision with the FIA on Friday evening, but the original ruling was upheld.

The McLaren chairman launched into a detailed explanation of the team's reasoning after qualifying.

"Two sets of doctors in Spain had cleared Fernando to drive and fly, so we were very surprised to get a different interpretation here," he said.

"As we got through yesterday, Fernando was feeling aggrieved that he felt so good that he wanted to drive.

"So we approached the FIA and said if we had a new scan taken this morning and this scan supported the position of the doctors five days later, would they then permit him to drive?

"They said no, it doesn't matter what the scan showed, he wouldn't be permitted to drive."

Dennis argued that teams are best placed to judge their drivers' fitness.

"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.

"Not to be able to re-evaluate the situation this morning, I didn't feel was very appropriate.

"I don't think it's an FIA issue to be honest. I think specialists are there.

"We go to the world's experts for opinions. We're not going to general practitioners, we're going to experts in their specific field.

"I don't think the FIA has the ability to field every single expert that's appropriate.

"You have a head injury, you need a neurosurgeon. You have structural damage on your body or an organ, you need the experts.

"We don't need to have a system that's prescriptive. If you go to a doctor and they prescribe you medicine, that doesn't impose on you an obligation to take it, if the doctor says to go to bed, you're not under an obligation to go to bed for three days.

"There are lots of things where you seek advice but then you have freedom of choice.

"The question is, would Fernando have been a danger to other drivers?

"If you've got a cracked rib and you want to drive with it, it's your business.

"It all becomes subjective, and that's the bit I don't like."

He underlined that McLaren's pursuit of a chance for Alonso should not be taken as a snub to stand-in driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who qualified 12th for his GP debut.

"This wasn't about dampening the enthusiasm or the motivation of Stoffel," Dennis said.

"We understood the impact on Stoffel. It's not a question of anything other than you've got to follow what you feel is right."

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