Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), victim of appendicitis, is out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the second round of the F1 world championship scheduled for Saturday in Jeddah, and will be replaced by British reserve driver Oliver Bearman , indicated the Scuderia on Friday. Sainz, suffering for several days, took part in free practice on Friday but had to withdraw after the weekend and will undergo surgery. Bearman, who was to take part in the F2 race on the fast Saudi track, will finally compete in his first Grand Prix in Formula 1 at only 18 years old.

“Carlos Sainz has been diagnosed with appendicitis, who will have to undergo an operation. From the third free practice session (Friday afternoon, editor’s note) and for the rest of the weekend, he will be replaced by reserve driver Oliver Bearman. Oliver will therefore not participate in the F2 round this weekend,” explains the Scuderia in a press release. Sainz, who finished third in the season-opening Grand Prix last Saturday in Bahrain, did not participate in press activities on Wednesday and appeared to suffer during the first two free practice sessions on Thursday, where he had nevertheless performed well. performance.

“It has been a very difficult day for me because I have not recovered from the illness that has kept me bedridden for the last 24 hours and I still feel weak,” he explained in a statement. “Even though I couldn’t push to the maximum, I went out on track and tried to maximize the time in the car. I hope to be fully recovered tomorrow (Friday) and to be able to concentrate on qualifying and the race,” he added.

But his body didn’t listen to him and he had no choice but to withdraw from the rest of the weekend and leave his place to Bearman, who will experience an unexpected baptism of fire. Sixth in the Formula 2 championship last season at the wheel of a single-seater from the Prema Racing team, with whom he is still entered this season in the same championship, Bearman drove a Haas F1 last season during two testing sessions. free practice in Mexico and Abu Dhabi. He also took part in a test in Fiorano (Italy) at the wheel of an SF21, the 2021 Ferrari single-seater.

Bearman will therefore participate in the third free practice session on Friday afternoon then in qualifying in the evening, before competing in the Grand Prix on Saturday at night. He will thus become the third youngest driver to take part in a Grand Prix after Max Verstappen (17 years and 5 months in 2015) and Lance Stroll two years later (18 years and 4 months). This package from Sainz, the only driver other than Red Bull to have won a Grand Prix in 2023, in Singapore, is a hard blow for the Scuderia.