UPDATE – Saudi Arabia GP: Shock as Carlos Sainz is replaced

Carlos Sainz will miss the Saudi GP

Carlos Sainz. Credit: ScuderiaFerrari/X

UPDATE: Monday, March 11 at 2: pm

Ferrari’s last-minute replacement for Carlos Sainz was 18-year-old British driver Oliver Bearman, making his Formula 1 debut.

Staring at 11th on the grid, he fought his way through the 50-lap race to cross the line in 7th, earning himself a well-deserved 6 points.

However, it was Dutchman, Max Verstappen who dominated. Starting on pole position he took an assured win, stretching his lead to 51 points in the overall championship.

Race Results

1  Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing
2  Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing
3  Charles LECLERC Ferrari
4  Oscar PIASTRI McLaren
5  Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin

Overall Standings

Pos Country Driver Team Pts
1 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull 51
2 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull 36
3 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 28
4 UK G. Russell Mercedes 18
5 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 16
6 Spain C. Sainz Jr. Ferrari 15
7 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin 12
8 UK L. Norris McLaren 12
9 UK L.Hamilton Mercedes 8
10 UK O. Bearman Ferrari 6

Friday, March 8 at 10:14 pm

In an unexpected turn of events, Carlos Sainz will not appear at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix this weekend.

The announcement came on Friday, March 8, confirming that the Ferrari driver from Madrid has been sidelined due to a sudden case of appendicitis.

Swift response to health scare

Ferrari quickly communicated the news that Sainz, currently lying third in the F1 standings, would  miss the GP on Twitter/X: ‘Carlos Sainz has been diagnosed with appendicitis and will require surgery.

‘As from FP3 and 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 message concluded: ‘The Ferrari family wishes Carlos a speedy recovery.’

Oliver Bearman, the team’s reserve driver, is set to take Sainz’s place starting from FP3 for the rest of the weekend’s events.

Consequently, Bearman will miss this round of the F2 Championship, stepping into a significant role at a moment’s notice.

Messages wishing Sainz a rapid recovery have flooded in from across the F1 community, including teams like McLaren, Alpine, Aston Martin, Mercedes, and drivers such as Alex Albon.

The prelude to an unexpected withdrawal

Antonio Lobato, a journalist with a keen insight into Formula 1, was the first to hint at Sainz’s possible withdrawal from the race due to health issues.

He posted on Twitter/X: ‘It is not yet official, it is not yet confirmed, but Carlos Sainz might not run this weekend.

They are carrying out tests to confirm if it is appendicitis before having to undergo surgery. I insist, it is not official yet…’ Lobato’s early report set the stage for the eventual confirmation.

Racing against the odds

Despite his condition, Sainz attempted to maintain his racing commitments. After arriving in Jeddah, he had to cancel a media appearance due to ill health.

Still, he managed to complete the initial free practice sessions, even securing the seventh spot in Free Practice 2.

Sainz commented, ‘it has obviously been a very hard day after being sick for the last 24 hours. My goal today was to gain confidence and get the car on track without pushing it to the limit and we completed the program without problems.’

Sainz’s withdrawal marks a significant moment in the racing calendar, impacting not just his season but also offering a chance for reserve drivers like Bearman to shine.

With the Australian Grand Prix just a couple of weeks away, the racing community will eagerly await updates on Sainz’s recovery and return.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.