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Formula 1 Australian GP

Sainz “not stupid” and will admit if he's not fit for Melbourne F1 return

Carlos Sainz says he’s “not stupid” and will be the first to admit if he realises that he’s not fit enough to race in this weekend’s Formula 1 Australian GP.

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, signs autographs

The Spaniard acknowledges that he hasn’t yet returned to 100% fitness after having his appendix removed in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago.

However, he remains confident that he will be able to drive this weekend, despite not undertaking any training or using the Maranello simulator since his operation.

Sainz plans to drive the SF-24 in practice on Friday in Melbourne – with adjustments to his belts to make him feel more comfortable – and will then assess the situation, with the FIA also set to check on his progress.

Oliver Bearman, who stood in for him in Jeddah and is Ferrari's nominated reserve again this weekend, is on standby.

“First of all just by seeing me move and the exercises that I'm doing in the gym and everything this tells me I'm fit to jump in the car tomorrow and try,” said Sainz.

“But obviously, I'm not stupid, and 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.

“This together with the FIA is also the plan that we have in place. I have another check with the FIA tomorrow, and they are monitoring my progress.

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“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.”

Speaking of his recovery process so far, Sainz added: "Every day I’m feeling obviously a lot better. Now, every 24 hours that I do, I make a lot of progress.

“It's true that the first week was tough, a lot of time in bed and recovering. And that's when you see things a bit darker. But then in the second week, the recovery speeds up a lot. And I started to feel a lot better.

“So yeah, I’m confident that I can jump in the car tomorrow and do well. Obviously, I put together a very strong recovery plan since day one when I landed back home to be ready for this race, and I will jump in the car tomorrow, and see how I feel. But I'm feeling positive about it."

Despite his confidence, Sainz is all too aware that the true picture of his preparedness will only become clear when he takes to the Albert Park track for the first time on Friday. 

“The problem is I don't know [how my body will cope],” he said. “Until you put yourself in an F1 car and feel the forces, it's impossible to know.

“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 also with that progress, I'm quite encouraged and positive. And then see how I feel, as I said."

Watch: Explained: Mercedes Grabs Resta from Ferrari in F1 Staff Swoop

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