Sainz Reportedly 'Not Moving Freely' With Australian Grand Prix In Doubt

Thursday, 21 March 2024 at 00:00
carlos sainz ferrari29
Carlos Sainz's participation at the 2024 Australian Grand Prix is in doubt as photographer F1 photographer Kym Illman described his engagement with the 29-year-old today.
Carlos Sainz had to withdraw from the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to urgent appendix surgery. While he was present at the circuit on the day of the race to support his substitute, Oliver Bearman, it was clear he was in no shape to race.
It was also questioned how long the Spanish driver would recover. Alex Albon underwent the same surgery in 2022 and was fit to race within three weeks.
However, Sainz only had two weeks to recover. The team from Maranello provided an update on the situation on their website ahead of the race weekend, which read: "Carlos Sainz is expected to be back in the car."
On the other hand, an F1 photographer, Kym Illman, described his experience with Sainz, who went for a bicycle ride around the track on Wednesday, and suggested he wasn't "moving freely."

"Twelve days ago, Carlos Sainz had his appendix removed in Jeddah. Today [Wednesday] I photographed him in the Albert Park paddock after he returned from riding the track on a bicycle with his crew."

"After getting off his bike, it looked to me like he was not moving freely. I spoke to him for a couple of minutes and I'm not 100 percent sure his body is ready for the rigours of an F1 race."

It was more or less expected that Sainz would want to race in Australia and would do everything to make it possible, but as the photographer said, he might have to step aside if he is at risk of further damage.

"He showed his keyhole surgery scar to a handful of crew out the back of the garage and then explained his plan to reduce some of the pressure on his stomach using padding under his seat belt buckle."

"I think he will do FP1 and see how his body handles it. If he's at risk of doing further damage, he'll have to step aside and let Ollie Bearman race again."

Ollie Bearman will be in Australia this weekend, where the third race of the F2 Championship also takes place. During the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, he proved Ferrari F1 could rely on him as a reserve driver.
However, Illman reports there is no reserve driver for the 18-year-old in F2 this weekend, and that might possibly complicate the situation. He added:

"Someone did tell me, though, that Prema have not brought a reserve driver to Australia which would suggest they’re of the opinion Ollie won’t be needed in the Ferrari."