Albon and ‘incredible modern machines’ behind remarkable Sainz recovery


Carlos Sainz has credited the advances in modern medicine for his remarkable recovery from appendicitis – as well as some help from Alex Albon.

Just 13 days ago on the morning of qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Sainz underwent surgery – the same as his father before him decades ago – and is confident he will be fit enough to get through this weekend in Australia even though he has not trained over the intervening period.

“Every day I’m feeling a lot better, every 24 hours that I do, I do a lot of progress,” said Sainz. “It’s true that the first week was tough, a lot of time in bed, recovering. That’s when you see things a bit darker, but then in the second week the recovery picks up a lot, and I have started to feel a lot better.

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

It seems inconceivable that Sainz should be fit enough but he maintains times have changed compared to surgery not that long ago.

“It’s possible thanks to the advances in medicine over the last 20, 30 years,” added Sainz. “When my dad had the operation, and maybe some of you guys had it, 40 years, 30 years ago, they cut you open here [indicating a cut across his stomach].

“Nowadays, with laparoscopy, they do three very little holes, and that speeds up the recovery. It’s twice as fast, or three times as fast as it used to be.

“So thanks to that, it’s why, even the doctors, after the operation, they said it’s obviously going to be tight. It’s 14 days from the operation date until I’m in the car on Friday, but possible.

“They don’t know what F1 is now, the G-forces and everything, but possible it is and possible I feel like it will be given how I’m feeling right now. Will I be at 100%? For sure not, that’s not a lie.

“One hundred per cent would mean spending 10 days training, doing the simulator. I haven’t done that over the last 10 days. I’ve just been focused on recovering, but will I be fit to race? The feeling right now is yes. And I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”

Unsurprisingly, Sainz called on Williams driver Albon for an assessment of what to expect when he returns to the cockpit of his SF24 around Melbourne’s Albert Park.

Albon also required surgery to remove his appendix in September 2022, although suffered additional respiratory failure during the operation that left him on a ventilator.

“I found a lot of support from Alex in this case because he went through a similar process,” said Sainz. “I asked him and he said ‘Yes, you will feel a bit weird at the beginning, but then you will get used to it’. It’s normal. So let’s see.

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

“What I know is that today I’m 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 and then I’ll see how I feel.”

To aid the speed of his recovery, and to help him over this weekend, the Spaniard has been, and will be undergoing “more physiotherapy”.

“This is another thing, the amount of time that I’ve invested into my recovery is not the amount of time a normal person invests,” he said. “I’ve been using incredible modern machines that help recovery. All this helps for an athlete.

“That’s why athletes, when we have injuries, we tend to recover in a way quicker maybe than other people because we put ourselves into situations and machines and everything that helps to speed up recovery a lot.

“You need to think that over the last 14 days, all the 24 hours have been around recovery, and together with a couple of changes that I need to do with the belts, with the sponges, just to protect the area, everything should be ready.”



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