Australian Grand Prix: Carlos Sainz admits double issue could affect F1 return after surgery

Australian Grand Prix: Carlos Sainz admits double issue could affect F1 return after surgery

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has admitted that he is still on the mend ahead of his return to Formula One at the Australian Grand Prix.

British teenager Oliver Bearman stepped into Sainz’s car a fortnight ago after the Spaniard was diagnosed with appendicitis having felt unwell during practice in Saudi Arabia, which required an operation.

Ahead of the race in Melbourne, Sainz has detailed the difficulty he has faced in his preparations, having been unable to take part in simulator sessions and still not feeling “100 per cent” on the eve of first practice.

“Since I’ve been in Australia, I’ve made excellent progress, feeling better day by day and I’m ready to get in the car,” he stated.

“I also spoke to [Williams driver] Alex [Albon] who went through a similar situation two years ago and, although I’m not 100 per cent, I expect to be able to drive.

“The doctors who treated me were very good and the operation was the least invasive possible.

“After surgery I had to rest and therefore lost some training time, but the lost hours were replaced with physiotherapy sessions.

“It also meant I wasn’t able to drive in the simulator as planned to prepare for Albert Park. But it’s not a new track and so I believe I can do well.”

Sainz finished third in the opening race of the 2024 F1 season and already faces a tough task to reel in the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez at Albert Park, after back-to-back 1-2 finishes for the reigning world champions.

“I’ll try for sure,” he explained.

“It’s not like I’ll be 100 per cent for it because obviously I’ve been 10 days in bed – not 10 days training and going to the simulator and preparing for a normal weekend.

“But, if I’m fit to race and I don’t have any pain or any bad symptoms, I can still put together a strong weekend and the target will be to challenge the Red Bull.”