Vasseur gives update over Sainz return date

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Frederic Vasseur is unsure whether Carlos Sainz will return for the Australian Grand Prix after being sidelined in Saudi Arabia due to appendicitis.

The Ferrari driver withdrew ahead of Free Practice 3 after being diagnosed with the condition that required surgery on Friday after feeling unwell earlier in the weekend.

He was replaced by Oliver Bearman who put in an impressive performance to climb from 11th on the grid to bank a seventh-place finish on debut and become the 68th driver to score points in his first Grand Prix.

The next race is not until the weekend of March 22-24 in Australia, with Vasseur cautious about a return for Sainz.

A swift return following an appendectomy has precedent in F1, with Alex Albon returning from his own at the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix, two weeks after surgery that forced him to skip the Italian GP – but Vasseur wants to wait for Sainz to rest before committing to a decision.

“It was a strange situation at the beginning of the weekend,” Vasseur told media including RacingNews365.

“We were convinced it was food [poisoning], but he struggled a lot of Thursday in both sessions with fever and stomach issues, but he was convinced that it would be much better the day after.

“But he called me [on Friday morning] and said ‘I will miss FP3 but I’ll be there for qualifying for sure’ and at 11:30am he was in the hospital.

“It was quite clear that we were not going in the right direction.

“There was no delay in [putting Bearman] in, I don’t remember the timing exactly, but as soon as it was clear from the doctor that [Sainz] would be unable to drive, we took the decision to put Oliver in.

“Thanks to the hospital in Jeddah and to everybody from the organisation that did the surgery, and this morning, I visited him and he was completely okay.

“It is a huge recovery, and we have to be focused on Melbourne.

“He will have a good rest this week and we will see [if he races in Australia.]

“I don’t want to rush or something like, he is an adult and will take the right decision.”

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