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Oh no! Carlos Sainz ruled out of Saudi Arabian GP with appendicitis

Spaniard will need surgery; British teenager Oliver Bearman to step in just hours before qualifying

Published: 08 Mar 2024

Blimey! Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz won’t take part in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend after being diagnosed with appendicitis at the eleventh hour. Get well soon, Carlos.

The 29-year-old was taken ill on Wednesday but returned to the track yesterday to drive in FP1 and FP2 despite still feeling unwell.

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Ferrari has now confirmed that he will require urgent surgery, with the team instead calling on its reserve driver only hours before the final practice session and with qualifying beginning at 5pm GMT.

Said reserve driver is British teenager Oliver Bearman, who finished third in the Formula 3 championship in 2022 and then sixth in F2 last season, picking up three feature race victories along the way.

At 18 years of age, Bearman will become the first British driver to race for Ferrari since Eddie Irvine in 1999 - a claim Lewis Hamilton was all set to make in 2025 - joining an illustrious list that includes world champions Nigel Mansell, John Surtees and Mike Hawthorn.

His cameo comes in possibly the fastest car on the grid bar the Red Bull… at one of the scariest and least forgiving tracks on the F1 calendar. Good luck lad, you’ll need it.

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Now on Super Sub duties, Bearman will miss both of the Formula 2 races scheduled in Jeddah this weekend. It’s not clear who would deputise for Sainz if the Spaniard hasn’t recovered by the Australian Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time, with Ferrari also able to call on Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Shwartzman.

The last driver to miss a race through appendicitis was Alex Albon, who withdrew from the Italian Grand Prix in 2022 and was replaced by Nyck de Vries. The Williams driver has already taken to X to say: “Get well soon… I know a good surgeon if you need.”

Yes, let’s all hope that Sainz’s doctor is a smooth operato- nope, nope. Way too soon.

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