Sainz: If I don't feel good, I will be the first to raise my hand

Sainz: If I don’t feel good, I will be the first to raise my hand

Sainz: If I don't feel good, I will be the first to raise my hand

Carlos Sainz will ease back into his Ferrari racing seat for the first free practice at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday, two weeks after surgery for appendicitis and with no training since the operation.

The 29-year-old Spaniard, third in the Bahrain season-opener, had to relinquish his seat to reserve driver Oliver Bearman at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix while recovering from surgery.

Sainz will return to the track at Albert Park feeling less than 100 percent fit and without having trained in the team’s simulator in Maranello.

While confident he will be robust enough to drive through the race weekend, he said he would not hesitate to give up his seat again if his body told him to.

“If I don’t feel good tomorrow, I will be the first one to raise my hand and say that I need another two weeks until the next race,” he told reporters at the Albert Park paddock on Thursday.

“And I’m the first one that doesn’t want to be in pain, to suffer, or to make it any worse. So I’m not stupid. And I will be very clear with how I’m feeling and everything,” he insisted.

In his absence, Bearman finished seventh in a stellar F1 debut at Jeddah to be named F1’s “Driver of the Day” and earn glowing reviews from rival drivers.

Sainz was similarly impressed by Bearman’s performance, though admitted it was tough seeing someone else in his car.

“Well it’s not a nice feeling, obviously, not being able to race especially after such a strong start to the season, seeing how competitive the car was again in Jeddah (and) doing the calculations about how many points you lost by the surgery,” he said.

Sainz is not the first driver to make a quick comeback from appendicitis. Alex Albon also had it ahead of the Italian Grand Prix in 2022, which saw Nyck de Vries take his place in the Williams car, but the Thai driver returned for the next race in Singapore.

While unconcerned about his lack of simulator work, Sainz conceded he would not know how his body would respond to the rigours of racing until behind the wheel.

“Until you put yourself in an F1 car and feel the forces, it’s impossible to know,” he said. “What I know is that today I am a lot better than yesterday, and yesterday I was a lot better than two days ago.

“So with that progress, I’m quite encouraged and positive,” the Spaniard concluded. (Reporting by Ian Ransom)