McLaren Formula 1 team’s reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne will replace Fernando Alonso in the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend.
Alonso, who miraculously avoided serious injury in this year’s opening Grand Prix at Melbourne, has been declared unfit to race after chest scans have not shown sufficient improvement to the injuries sustained. Alonso will have another scan before the Chinese Grand Prix in two weeks, however his bench-warming will allow 24-year-old Stoffel Vandoorne, who celebrated his birthday this week, to make his F1 debut in lieu.
About to board for Bahrain, a bit earlier than expected but so much looking forward to it! Will do my very best for the team @McLarenF1!
— Stoffel Vandoorne (@svandoorne) March 31, 2016
Vandoorne has previous experience at Bahrain having won there on his GP2 debut in 2014. The young Belgian is a member of the McLaren Young Driver Program and started his career kart racing at the age of six. Victories nationally and then internationally allowed him the opportunity to compete in F4 where numerous successes moved him to GP2.
Alonso will sit out of a Grand Prix for the second year in a row due to injury, having missed out on last years race in Melbourne following a pre-season crash.