Sainz’s Dramatic race against time for Melbourne GP

Carlos Sainz may recover in time to reclaim his position at Ferrari for the upcoming Melbourne Grand Prix, following a sudden health scare in Saudi Arabia that initially seemed like food poisoning. This ailment, later identified as appendicitis, led to his temporary replacement by Ferrari’s young reserve, Oliver Bearman, for qualifying and the race.

Bearman, at only 18, faced the challenge of adapting quickly to the F1 environment, finishing half a second slower than teammate Charles Leclerc and narrowly missing out on advancing to Q3 during qualifications. Despite this, Bearman received commendations from several F1 drivers, including Max Verstappen, who noted Bearman’s promising start by saying, “By lap two, lap three I was like ‘Okay, that’s a strong start’.”

Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ team principal, also praised the young talent’s transition from Formula 2 to a competitive performance in a Ferrari F1 car, remarking on the potential for the next generation of drivers – including Bearman’s F2 teammate, Kimi Antonelli: “Now you see that you can take a boy like that out of a F2 car and put him in a Ferrari and he is immediately competitive. It’s promising for the next generation.”

However, Bearman’s stint in F1 may be brief for now, as Sainz, following his appendectomy, has indicated a smooth recovery process. Frederic Vasseur, Ferrari’s team principal, commented on Sainz’s condition, stating, “It is not an easy situation but his condition is normal,” and expressing hope for Sainz’s swift return: “I hope Carlos will return to action soon.”

Dr. Riccardo Ceccarelli, of Formula Medicine, optimistically views Sainz’s chances for a quick return, explaining, “If there are no complications, a driver will be able to race after 10 days,” highlighting the differences in recovery demands between racing and football due to lower abdominal pressure in driving. Ceccarelli further detailed the simplicity of modern appendectomy procedures, requiring only “a couple of small holes and a couple of days in hospital,” and commended Ferrari’s medical team for their swift action: “I think the doctor at Ferrari found the problem quickly and everything was managed properly.”


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