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Stoffel Vandoorne to make debut in Bahrain

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Stoffel Vandoorne will deputise for the injured Fernando Alonso this weekend after the Spaniard failed a medical ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The FIA deemed Alonso unfit for the race due to "insufficient resolutions" to the chest injuries he sustained during a massive crash at the Australian Grand Prix. Immediately after the announcement, McLaren confirmed reserve driver and GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne will step in for the twilight race.

Despite winning F1's feeder series Vandoorne found himself without a drive this season and has signed up for a year of Super Formula in Japan. The Belgian was due to test for Docomo Dandelion on Thursday but instead will fly to Bahrain for his first full taste of a grand prix weekend.

It is the second time in two years McLaren has needed to call on its reserve driver for Alonso. The Spaniard missed 2015's opener in Australia and was replaced by Kevin Magnussen, who now drives for Renault.