Sainz out of Saudi GP, 18yo Bearman gets F1 debut with Ferrari

Sainz out of Saudi GP, 18yo Bearman gets F1 debut with Ferrari

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz is out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with appendicitis, with the Italian team handing 18-year-old Oliver Bearman his Formula 1 debut hours before qualifying.

The Ferrari driver appeared to be suffering with some sort of illness throughout the week. He missed all media commitments on Wednesday, but managed to struggle through the first two practice sessions around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

When asked how he was coping after yesterday’s FP1 and FP2 running, he said: “It’s been a very difficult day for me as I haven’t fully recovered from the sickness that has kept me in bed for the last 24 hours and I still feel very weak.


“Anyway, I made it to the track and managed to maximise the time with the car and the team. This track has a lot of grip and the high-speed corners makes it very demanding for cars and drivers.

“Even though I couldn’t push to the limit today, at least we completed the programme and hopefully [Friday]I will be fully recovered and we can focus on qualifying and the race,” added Sainz, whose hopes came to nought as he is forced to sit out what would have been his 185th Grand Prix start.

Now it turns out that after a hospital visit, the Spaniard has been diagnosed with appendicitis. Inflammation of the appendicitis is a potentially life-threatening condition, and thus Sainz remains in hospital and will undergo removal surgery.

This was confirmed by Scuderia Ferrari on X (formerly Twitter), with the Italian outfit wishing “Carlos a speedy recovery”.

Ferrari also revealed the 29-year-old’s replacement as Driver Academy and Formula 2 driver Oliver Bearman. The young Briton will drive the SF-24 for the rest of the weekend, including the race.

Sainz’s misfortune gives Bearman the break of his lifetime, and a new young star for F1 fans to contemplate. The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Round 2 of the 2024 World Championship, is on Saturday. (Additional Reporting by Reuters)

Who is Oliver Bearman?

  • Oliver was born on 8 May 2005 in Chelmsford, England.
  • He first tried karting at the age of eight in a club race, but very soon his abundant talent became clear.
  • A year later he finished in the top 5 at the British Karting GP and took fourth place in the cadet class of the national championship.
  • In the following two seasons, Oliver won the Kartmasters British Grand Prix and was runner-up in the cadet class.
  • In 2019, in Valencia, he won the Junior X30 class of the World Cup and then the European and World championships at Le Mans.
  • In 2020, he made his single-seater debut in the German and Italian Formula 4 championships with US Racing, immediately making an impression.
  • In the first race at the Lausitzring, he qualified on the front row and then took his first win at Hockenheim in the eighth race in the category, eventually finishing the championship in seventh place.
  • He also took a win in Italy, ending up tenth in the classification.
  • In 2021, he switched to the Van Amersfoort Racing team, winning both the Italian and German titles in style, taking 17 wins.
  • He also won a round of the GB3 series and was put forward for the Ferrari Driver Academy Scouting World Finals by ACI Sport. He excelled and secured a place in the Academy.
  • In 2022, he raced in Formula 3 with Prema and made an immediate impression at the first round in Bahrain.
  • He ended the year with one win, seven podium finishes, one fastest lap and was third in the championship, just seven points off the winner.
  • Then came the news that he would move up to Formula 2, again with Prema.
  • Oliver enjoyed a solid 2023 season in a series that is always very competitive.
  • He took four wins, three of them in Feature Races in Baku, Barcelona and Monza, also winning the Sprint in Azerbaijan, to finish sixth in the championship and second in the rookie category.
  • He also drove a Formula 1 car four times: first in an SF21 at Fiorano to rack up sufficient miles for his superlicense
  • He drove the Haas VF-23 for two free practice sessions in Mexico and Abu Dhabi, with a final run in the post-season test at Yas Marina, where he impressed with his maturity and performance level.
  • In 2024, he stays with Prema in F2, while also being third reserve driver for Scuderia Ferrari. (Source: Ferrari)