Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Jeddah, 2024

Sainz “expected” to make F1 return at Australian Grand Prix

Formula 1

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Carlos Sainz Jnr is expected to race in the Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

Ferrari said Sainz “is expected to be back in the car” this weekend. They indicated he will resume his routine media duties from tomorrow at Albert Park, alongside team mate Charles Leclerc.

Sainz participated in the opening day of practice for the previous round in Jeddah, then was forced to sit out the rest of the weekend after suffering appendicitis. Oliver Bearman took over his car for final practice, qualifying and the race.

After undergoing surgery on Friday in Jeddah, Sainz returned to the circuit the following day to support the team and assist his substitute, who made his grand prix debut in the race. Bearman climbed from 11th on the grid to finish seventh.

Sainz is the second driver in the last two years who was forced to miss a race due to appendicitis. Alexander Albon sat out the Italian Grand Prix in 2022 for the same reason. He was able to return at the following race in Singapore following a three-week absence, while Sainz has had only two weeks to recover since the Saudi Arabian round.

Prior to his illness, Sainz made a strong start to the season in the only other round held so far. He finished third in the Bahrain Grand Prix behind the two Red Bull drivers.

With Sainz expected to resume his F1 season this weekend, Bearman will be able to rejoin his Prema team in the Formula 2 championship. The series is also racing on the Albert Park this weekend. Bearman is yet to score following the first two rounds, but had to forfeit his chance to start the Jeddah feature race from pole position when he stepped in for Sainz.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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11 comments on “Sainz “expected” to make F1 return at Australian Grand Prix”

  1. Even if the surgery is okay, I guess he has had to severely limit his training for the last couple of weeks? I wonder if he should sit out this one so he is fully ready for Japan and the rest of the season.

    1. Given that he was already back in the paddock the next day, it seems it went really well with the surgery – probably a relatively straight forward laparoscopic one – (didn’t Albon have some complications that made recovery harder and he was still back within 3 weeks), he’s probably fine.

      1. Albon had complications during the surgery and went racing while not even 80% … Sainz should take notice from that and make sure he test himself monitoring by doctors before racing so he is 100% before the race and not i feel ok like Albon did while he wasn’t.

        1. Yes, I wholly agree that drivers shouldn’t feel the pressure to get back into the car before they really are fit. And should themselves really consider whether they are fit to drive. I do think that Sainz seems to have had a far less issues with the procedure than Albon had, so he could well be fine by now.

  2. Also my expectation despite this interval being a week shorter than the 2022 Italian-Singapore GP one, but we’ll see.

  3. Remember that Albon suffered respiratory failure and was in hospital for a while. Sainz was in the paddock the day after surgery.

  4. Hopefully they’ll apply some caution and check his condition after P1 & P2.

    They at least have the luxury of a very able reserve if indeed he’s not fully right after being in the car for the first practice sessions.

  5. Sainz should consider his health first and the lure of racing second.
    Of course, those who recall the state Lauda was in when he got back in the car will know many drivers often get the priorities wrong.

  6. Matthew Ellis
    20th March 2024, 14:05

    While I assume Carlos will have had access to world class surgeons, the UK’s NHS advice for this type of op is to return to work in no less than 2 weeks for office jobs, and for anything more strenuous to wait longer.

    Obviously Carlos is far fitter than the average human and will have been monitored by his team medics, but even so this feels like a decision that could come back to bite him later.

    1. 2 weeks would likely be for open surgery though, Sainz had a laparoscopic surgery which is usually 1 week for “normal” people.

      1. @chrischrill The NHS advice Matthew Ellis quoted is for laparoscopic surgery for any work requiring (either in the job itself or in getting to/from the job) movement similarly vigorous to housework, heavy lifting (which the NHS typically defines as over 2 kg) and strenuous exercise (I assume F1 racing counts!), albeit lighter duties can be resumed earlier if one feels well enough. However, people in jobs that are largely sedentary but not home-based often underestimate the peak levels of activity needed to actually do the job and/or get to/from it. This is why the “go back to work” advice may seem a little cautious – the NHS is taking that underestimation into account.

        The NHS recommendation for open (laparatomy) surgery is 4-8 weeks (assuming the first 1 was entirely spent in hospital; for some of the more complex appendectomies, that is itself an understatement, and the longer needed in hospital, the longer the post-discharge recovery time). Laparotomies are reserved for more complex appendicitis situations such as the appendix exploding before the surgery could occur, and initial healing has to occur before discharge is possible for that situation, which is why the range is much wider than for a laparoscopic surgery for the same purpose.

        Granted, the above figures assume the patient does not have access to private specialists in rehabilitation and recovery, which Carlos would definitely have.

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