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Ferrari provide update on Sainz ahead of Australian Grand Prix with reserve driver Bearman on call in Melbourne

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari walks in the Paddock after being

Ferrari have provided an update on Carlos Sainz’s health ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, after the Spaniard was forced to miss the previous race in Jeddah.

Sainz was withdrawn from the F1 weekend at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Friday morning, with the two-time race winner forced to undergo surgery after being diagnosed with appendicitis.

READ MORE: ‘I've never seen anything better than that' – Legendary engineer Jock Clear on Bearman's F1 debut

Into his place stepped 18-year-old Ferrari reserve driver Ollie Bearman, who caused a sensation with his assured stand-in performance to net P7 in the race, causing many observers – including F1.com columnist Guenther Steiner and Sainz’s Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc – to remark that the Briton had all the makings of an F1 star of the future.

However, ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Ferrari confirmed that Sainz was looking likely to return to the cockpit of the SF-24 around the Albert Park Circuit – with Bearman remaining on call as reserve driver, alongside his Formula 2 duties with PREMA racing in Melbourne this weekend.

2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: F2 pole to F1 points for Oliver Bearman

“Carlos Sainz is expected to be back in the car, having had to miss Jeddah with appendicitis,” the team wrote in a pre-race statement. “He and team mate Charles Leclerc will most likely be fighting at the front of the field, as they have done in the first two rounds.”

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Team Principal Fred Vasseur, meanwhile, predicted that Ferrari would be “front runners” at the Australian circuit, with the team having provided the sternest challenge so far to Red Bull in 2024 – Sainz finishing third behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in Bahrain, before Leclerc took that position in Saudi Arabia.

“The Albert Park track is a favourite with the drivers and one where Ferrari has always enjoyed a lot of support,” said Vasseur. “We expect to be front runners on this track which could produce a similar pecking order to the one seen in Jeddah.

“We intend adopting an aggressive approach with the aim of putting pressure on the team [Red Bull] that’s won the first two races.”

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Oliver Bearman of Great Britain and Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton of

Bearman was thrust into the limelight in Jeddah

TIMELINE: Ollie Bearman’s ‘whirlwind’ 24 hours in Jeddah that saw him go from F2 pole to F1 debut

Should he not be required to step in for either Leclerc or Sainz, meanwhile, Bearman will be keen to kick-start his F2 campaign in Australia, the Briton on zero points in the standings (compared to his six points in F1) after failing to score in Bahrain, before being withdrawn from the event in Jeddah for his super-sub performance with Ferrari.

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