The former two-time champ suffered a major crash during pre-season testing in Barcelona a month ago, and subsequently sat out the season opener in Australia earlier this month. The team refuted rampant rumors that there had been some sort of electrical glitch related to the hybrid Energy Recovery System that caused Alonso to pass out behind the wheel, insisting that nothing out of the ordinary occurred.
Since the crash, McLaren reports that its star driver "has followed a rigorous, specialised training programme, designed and closely monitored by leading sports scientists, to ensure his safe and timely return to racing." He visited the team's headquarters in Woking, England, where he met with his engineers and spent some virtual time behind the wheel of the team's state-of-the-art simulator.
That means this weekend will mark Fernando's first time racing for McLaren since the end of 2007 when he spent one season with the team, before returning to Renault, with which he had won his two world titles. After two more seasons, he switched to Ferrari, but after failing to emerge from Red Bull's shadow in the seasons that followed, Alonso returned to McLaren.
It's a difficult time to be driving for the British team, though: after dismal pre-season testing mired by Alonso's crash and mechanical difficulties related to the new Honda engine, his substitute Kevin Magnussen failed to make it to the starting grid in Melbourne while team-mate Jenson Button managed to finish, but no better than dead last.