Fernando Alonso will not be on the grid for next weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
The Spaniard suffered a concussion in a testing crash on the final day of the second test in Barcelona last month and missed last week's final test as a result.
He lost control of the MP4-30 as a strong gust of wind, pushing the car out wide onto slippery Astroturf. The former Ferrari driver hit the inside wall with an impact measured at 30G before a secondary impact at around half that.
Following doctors orders
As the McLaren team continued testing, however, the Spaniard posted a YouTube video reiterating that he was fine and that he was merely following doctors advice to not to get back in the car.
Now the same doctors have advised Alonso to not race in Melbourne a week on Sunday as a precautionary measure to ensure the former two-time world champion does not suffer a secondary high energy impact.
"Fernando's doctors have recommended to him that, following the concussion he sustained in a testing accident on February 22nd, for the time being he should seek to limit as far as is possible any environmental risk factors that could potentially result in his sustaining another concussion so soon after his previous one," a statement from the McLaren team read.
Kevin Magnussen to sit in
As a result, Kevin Magnussen, who deputised for Alonso at the final pre-season test last week, will step in and race at the site of his first podium in F1 as he finished a promoted second in his first race in F1 following Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification last year.
The Dane is only expected to be in the car for one race, however, as the team revealed that despite pulling out from the first race of the season, doctors are in agreement that Alonso is suffering from no injuries and can resume physical training ahead of making his race appearance for McLaren since 2007 at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang on March 29th.
Alonso absence a further McLaren setback
The setback of losing Alonso for Melbourne comes at a time when McLaren are quite some way from where they want to be following a pre-season blighted by issues.
The new Honda power unit may have been hyped up as one that can make McLaren a competitive team again after two years of disappointment but the early teething problems that have occurred since it made its track debut in Abu Dhabi late last year have still not been completely fixed.
Just where the new MP4-30 will stand in the pecking order is one of the great unknowns heading into the new season but then, on testing form, making the chequered flag at Albert Park will be an achievement in itself.