Albon says F1 return in Singapore after surgery will be a “big challenge”

2022 Singapore Grand Prix

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Williams have confirmed Alexander Albon will return to the cockpit of his FW44 at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, after missing the Italian Grand Prix due to appendicitis.

Albon took part in the Friday free practice sessions at Monza before withdrawing from the event as he was struck down by appendicitis. Nyck de Vries took his place for the next two days and impressed by finishing ninth from eighth on the grid on his Formula 1 debut.

Meanwhile Albon was hospitalised and underwent surgery on Saturday. The team later confirmed he experienced “respiratory failure” afterwards which meant he then had to be moved to an intensive care unit in the Monza hospital where he was being treated.

Albon recovered quickly and was soon back in touch with his fans on social media. And after travelling back to the United Kingdom the next week he began his recovery with the target of being fit enough for the Singapore GP two-and-a-half weeks later.

“Firstly, I’d just like to thank everyone for all their messages and support over the Italian GP weekend,” said Albon.

He acknowledged the punishing Singapore circuit and hot conditions will make his return more challenging. “My preparation for Singapore has been a little different than normal but I’m feeling good and I’ve done everything possible to get ready for one of the most physical races on the calendar,” he said.

“I am not underestimating how big of a challenge this is going to be, but I am looking forward to hitting the track on Friday and getting back driving.”

Albon has contested the Singapore Grand Prix once before, for Red Bull, starting and finishing sixth in 2019.

“It’s a great street circuit and the closest race to home for me in Thailand,” he said. “So I’m really excited to be here and to see the fans that have turned out.”

Williams’ promotional duties for the event have been carried out so far by Albon’s team mate Nicholas Latifi and Formula 2 racer Logan Sargeant, who is one of the team’s junior drivers.

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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15 comments on “Albon says F1 return in Singapore after surgery will be a “big challenge””

  1. Singapore GP is the toughest event physically, so a somewhat risky return attempt, but hopefully, nothing will go wrong.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      28th September 2022, 15:50

      True but considering de Vries could not exit the car himself after the Monza race you could also question if de Vries would have been physically able to handle Singapore.

      It also demonstrates the huge gap in physical impact F1 has compared to other series if a F2 and FE champion that is an active racer in multiple series is struggling physically after what on paper seems an easier physical track (Monza).

      Obviously being called on short notice maybe proper preparation very tricky but being a reserve driver means you sometimes get little notice so maybe de Vries fitness is really good compared to average Joe but weak compared to an active F1 driver.

      1. that is why i dont understand the rush…

  2. Go Albon! Go!

  3. Yeah – I don’t really get the rush to put him back in the cockpit. It’s not like he is fighting for the title. I guess only he knows how he feels and presumably Nyck is on hand should FP1 prove to be too much. I think Paul Scholes once came back from a hernia operation within two weeks (and scored from memory). Obviously two different types of surgery and two very different sports.

    I just would have left Alex in Europe with his feet up. Appendicitis – surgery – ventilator – Singapore GP within 17 days seems a bit intense when he’ll probably be fighting over 16th place anyway.

    But I guess he feels up to it. Best of luck to him.

    1. @bernasaurus some have commented that there can be a fair amount of psychological pressure on drivers to rush their return to the cockpit in F1 and in other motorsport series.

      Matt Oxley – the ex-motorcycle racer turned journalist – has commented that, in MotoGP, he knows that quite a few riders would often rush back to ride sooner than they should for quite a few reasons. Quite a few felt insecure about their ride – even some of the bigger names in MotoGP felt worried that a long absence ran the risk that the team might replace them for good with another rider – whilst others might feel they owed the team something and had to return quickly, even if they were not fit.

      In some instances, there might be rather overt pressure from the team for a rider to return quickly – perhaps because they were worried they couldn’t find a decent replacement, or perhaps because sponsors might have wanted to be associated with a particular rider and might be withholding funds or putting pressure on the team to get the rider to return quickly.

      There was also a strong element of machismo as well – that riders did not want to appear “weak” or “cowardly” and would therefore prefer to rush their return to the grid, even if they were having to have injections of painkillers before getting onto the bike. It’s sometimes even resulted in riders injuring themselves even more severely by getting involved in another accident before they’ve fully recovered, because they’d rather be more severely injured than suffer a perceived loss in face from not racing.

      I would say that, whilst not quite the same sport, some of those issues are also applicable to F1 as well, and might result in drivers wanting to rush their return to the cockpit.

      Consider the case of Perez at Sauber – when he initially returned to the cockpit after his accident in Monaco, he claimed that he was fully fit and all was well. It wasn’t until much later that he admitted that he hadn’t in fact been anywhere near as fit as he’d originally claimed he was when he returned to the cockpit, and that it actually took him several months to recover from his concussion injuries.

      Although not being explicit about why he returned, there may have been elements of him feeling insecure about his position – he’d only been racing for a few rounds when he had that accident – and also financial pressures, given his sponsorship from the Slim family and the poor financial state of Sauber.

      I’m not saying that there definitely are similar reasons, but it may be that there could be other factors for why Albon is so keen to get back into the cockpit so quickly.

  4. Bit silly. He’s nothing to lose sitting out one more race.

  5. I admire both his dedication to returning and the effort he’s putting in to achieve it but I hope it doesn’t come at the cost of his health and recovery.

  6. Had my appendix out several years ago, same arthroscopic surgery technique. Instead of one incision that hurts like H…. there are three smaller incisions that each hurt like H…. They also balloon you out with CO2 for access, which has it’s own issues. Was worth it, lots of minor issues cleared up.
    The biggest thing post-op was the loss of core strength and associated muscle pain. Took a month to get back. Only two weeks to be able to laugh pain free. Well almost pain free.
    It will be surprising if he is back at fighting strength this week. Wish him all the best and will be cheering him on.

    1. I had the same surgery as you and it took waaaay longer than 2 weeks to get any core strength back. It was 6 weeks before I could do swimming and yoga again. Not giving his body time to heal could cause more problems later on. I wish him all the best.

  7. The rush to get back in the seat is telling, he must feel his seat is in danger. He had to sit out a year while an old hand took his RB seat, he doesn’t want Williams to start look at younger potential talent too hard. I think he should 100% recover before he steps back in, a bad drive with diminished long term health consequences could spark the fear he likely has.

    He fear is real, it took 10 minutes for Latifi to be shown the door after DeVries stepped into Albon’s car.

    1. With Latifi already gone for next season, his seat isn’t in danger. I honestly feel he could skip this one and just rest it out

    2. Seems that drivers want to drive and will do pretty much anything to keep others out of their seat.
      Hamilton did it when he had COVID. He even admitted after that he was not recovered and should have sat out another race. Yet, he was willing to do anything to keep the junior guy, out of “his” car.
      We can only imagine what GR could have done with a second crack at the Mercedes.

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