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240043-scuderia-ferrari-saudi-arabia-gp-race_5d2b52ad-7806-4e4b-9d2c-4cf2fb53d59e sainz melbourne 2024 F1

Vamos! Sainz set for Ferrari return at Australian Grand Prix

240043-scuderia-ferrari-saudi-arabia-gp-race_5d2b52ad-7806-4e4b-9d2c-4cf2fb53d59e sainz melbourne 2024 F1

Ferrari F1 driver Carlos Sainz is on track to return for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix after recovering from surgery for appendicitis.

Sainz, who was third at the Bahrain Grand Prix season-opener and the last driver to beat dominant Red Bull with victory in Singapore last September, pulled out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after his health issue was diagnosed.

The Spaniard was replaced by reserve driver Oliver Bearman, who did a stellar job, at the Jeddah Corniche circuit but should be back in the race seat at Albert Park this week, the team confirmed on Wednesday.

“Carlos is here in Melbourne since two days (ago) and is OK. We are expecting him to drive,” a Ferrari spokesperson said.

Sainz is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season to make way for Mercedes’ seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton, who will take his seat next year. Where the Spaniard ends up in 2025, amid a hectic F1 Silly Season is not certain.

F1’s Smooth Operator has been linked to spearheading Audi’s F1 foray in 2026. But uncertainty at Red Bull means there could be a myriad of options opening up for Sainz, including ‘reports’ of interest from Red Bull and Aston Martin. Or even a direct swap to Mercedes and replace Ferrari-bound Hamilton.

British teenager Bearman stepped up for an extraordinary F1 race debut in Jeddah, finishing P7 after starting P11 on the grid as Ferrari’s youngest-ever rookie.

Round 3 of the 2024 Formula 1 World Championship, the Australian Grand Prix takes place at Melbourne’s Albert Park and, if all goes to plan, Sainz will make his 185th GP start on Sunday. (Reporting by Ian Ransom)