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Vasseur “optimistic” on Sainz return ahead of decision next week

Ferrari Formula 1 boss Fred Vasseur is “optimistic” that Carlos Sainz will be able to return to the cockpit for the Australian GP, with a decision to be taken next week.

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

If Sainz is not able to race Oliver Bearman is once again scheduled to be the Maranello team’s reserve in Melbourne, alongside his F2 duties.

Sainz felt unwell in the early part of the Jeddah event and on Friday morning it was confirmed that he had appendicitis and would have to miss the race, giving Bearman a chance to make his sensational F1 debut.

Sainz had an operation immediately but still managed to attend Saturday's race, albeit walking with extreme care. He flew back to Europe on Sunday.

All efforts are now focused on getting him fit for the next race in Australia.

“This I don't know, honestly,” said Vasseur when asked after the Jeddah race about Sainz’s potential return. “The recovery so far is amazing, the fact he was able to come today to be with the team is a very good sign, and a very good support for us.

“Now, he will fly back with me tomorrow [Sunday] and he will have one week of complete rest, and we will take a decision on when he has to fly to Melbourne in one week's time. But I'm quite optimistic.”

Alex Albon proved it was possible to bounce back quickly from a similar operation when he returned for the 2022 Singapore GP after missing the previous race in Italy.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

But every individual is different, and the added complication for Sainz is the punishing 24-hour flight to Australia, plus the need to go as early as possible in order to adjust to the time zone change. That means he will have to travel this weekend to arrive in Melbourne on Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

However, the plan is for him to travel come what may and then a final call will be made before track action starts on Friday.

Regarding Sainz’s brave efforts in the cockpit on Thursday Vasseur said: “I think it's a characteristic of the family!  I'm not strong enough to extract Carlos from the car.

“When he came on Thursday morning, he didn't feel well, 'Let me try to do some laps,' and he did the full session. The afternoon, it was exactly the same.

“Already, at this stage, it was amazing for me, because I found out after the session he was completely destroyed.

“If you look at the result of FP1 and FP2, he had a very decent pace, and he was even able to do long stints, and this was mega.

“But now let's be focused on the future for Carlos. The most important thing is not to push today, it's to recover and to recover properly.

Circuit staff replace the garage banner of Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, with that of Oliver Bearman, Scuderia Ferrari

Circuit staff replace the garage banner of Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, with that of Oliver Bearman, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

“I don't want to rush, but he's an adult, and he'll take the right decision.”

He added: “It's a huge recovery, and now we have to be focussed on Melbourne. He needs to have a good rest this week, and we'll see next week.”

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