It is possible Fernando Alonso will not travel to Austin for this weekend's US grand prix. The highly respected correspondent for Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, Pino Allievi, said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo "is not even remotely" contemplating the prospect of the Spaniard sitting out the race.
But, after his high-G bump over the Abu Dhabi kerbs a week ago, Alonso admitted he was in back pain, while his manager Luis Garcia Abad 'tweeted' an alarming photo of the driver strapped to a spinal board during a post-race hospital check.
Allievi said Ferrari "did not like" Abad's dramatic photo, adding another small piece to Alonso's growing rift with the Italian team.
But Alonso did have subsequent medical tests in Spain early last week, and according to Allievi "he is waiting until the beginning of this week" to be sure he will leave for America as scheduled on Tuesday.
"In the meantime, Fernando is completely resting in Spain," the veteran correspondent added.
Even if Alonso does travel to Austin, he would then need to pass the FIA's own medical checks on Thursday.
Allievi said that in the "unlikely" event that Alonso sits out Austin, his replacement will probably be the Ferrari-backed Frenchman, Jules Bianchi.
Bianchi's team, Marussia, "is bound to release (Bianchi) when the call comes from Maranello", he explained.
Ferrari's second choice is reportedly the veteran reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa.