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Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP

Verstappen arriving late in Saudi Arabia after stomach bug

Max Verstappen's arrival at Formula 1's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has been delayed due to an illness that has struck down the world champion.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

The Red Bull driver has been suffering from a stomach bug for the past few days, and that has meant he has been unable to travel to Jeddah up until now.

With the agreement of the FIA, Verstappen has been allowed to miss Thursday's media day in Saudi Arabia but is due to fly in so he can be ready for the opening day of track action on Friday.

It is anticipated that he will arrive in Saudi Arabia on Thursday evening.

Verstappen himself posted on social media that he was suffering no after-effects of his illness and was in no doubt he would be fit enough to get ready.

"Feeling fine again, after not being fit for a few days because of a stomach bug," said the Dutchman.

"Therefore, I unfortunately had to postpone my flight for a day, so I won't be on the track until Friday. See you in Jeddah!"

Red Bull confirmed that it had been in discussion with the FIA for it let Verstappen miss Thursday's media events, which are a mandatory requirement for F1's sporting regulations.

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, in the post Qualifying Press Conference

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

A tweet from Red Bull stated: "Max has been suffering from a stomach illness over the past few days and, with the agreement of the FIA, will not be present at track today. Feel better, Max."

Verstappen's ability to be ready in time for Friday practice is helped by the fact that the timetable for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix runs to a night schedule.

The first free practice session is not due to begin until 4.30pm local time on Friday, with the second session taking place at 8pm. That will give him plenty of time to prepare in advance with the team.

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Verstappen currently leads the F1 drivers' standings following his victory in the F1 season opener in Bahrain, which he dominated to finish ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez.

Had Verstappen not been fit to travel, then Red Bull has the ability to take either of the AlphaTauri drivers Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries as a potential replacement, with Tsunoda the most obvious choice due to his experience.

Red Bull also has three official reserve drivers on its roster: Liam Lawson, Dennis Hauger, and Zane Maloney, while Lawson is on site for the team in Saudi Arabia.

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