British teenager Oliver Bearman to race at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix for Ferrari as Carlos Sainz ruled out

Ferrari have called up British teenager Oliver Bearman to race at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after Carlos Sainz was forced to pull out.

The Spaniard has been unwell in the days leading up to the event in Jeddah and on Friday was diagnosed with appendicitis, which will require an operation.

A Ferrari statement read: "Carlos Sainz has been diagnosed with appendicitis and will require surgery.

"For the rest of this weekend, he will be replaced by reserve driver Oliver Bearman. Oliver will therefore take no further part in this round of the F2 Championship.

"The Ferrari family wishes Carlos a speedy recovery."

Bearman, 18, from Chelmsford, Essex, finished sixth in his F2 debut last season, winning three races for Prema before re-signing with the Italian team for 2024. The reserve series’ opening races take place this weekend in Saudi, which he will now miss despite qualifying on pole position in Thursday’s session.

Part of the Ferrari academy since 2021, he undertook his first outing in a Formula One car during a private test in October before free practice outings in Mexico and Abu Dhabi.

The new season saw him installed as reserve driver for the famous F1 marque alongside Robert Shwartzman and Antonio Giovinazzi, as well as with the Haas team which uses Ferrari power units.

Bearman will become the first English racer to drive for Ferrari since Nigel Mansell, who finished fifth in the 1990 championship.

Sainz described taking part in both practice sessions on Thursday as his “toughest day” in the sport.

“I’ve had a very rough last 24 hours if I’m honest,” said Sainz.

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“So, happy to manage to do this Thursday and complete the run plan but for sure it’s been my toughest day in an F1 car at such a demanding circuit with high G-Force, and having a stomach bug and being sick is not ideal but hopefully for tomorrow I do a step better and hopefully for [Saturday] I’m 100 per cent but I need some rest now.

“It was a struggle in FP1 all the way to FP2, especially the long runs when you do some continuous laps, my stomach didn’t really like it you know, at least I got a first feeling with the car even if I couldn’t push it to the absolute limit.

"At least I got a good feeling and was able to feedback to my engineers and this will give me a decent base to work on tomorrow and hopefully tomorrow I can feel better.”