Ferrari replaces Sainz this weekend with an 18-year-old

JEDDA.- Ferrari has a new British driver and it is not Lewis Hamilton.

Carlos Sainz Jr. He was ruled out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Friday with appendicitis and Ferrari debuted 18-year-old Oliver Bearman hours before qualifying.

Sainz “was diagnosed with appendicitis and will need an operation,” Ferrari said in a statement.

The team promoted Bearman, the British reserve driver who usually participates in Formula 2, to start the rest of the weekend from the third practice session.

Bearman was tenth fastest in the session and did not look out of place in F1. He focused on gaining experience with race simulations longer than a single lap. Bearman managed 22 laps, more than any other driver, in a session that was interrupted when Zhou Guanyu’s car spun and crashed his Sauber into the barrier.

Bearman will become the third-youngest driver to start an F1 career, behind Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll, who were 17 and 18, respectively, when they debuted.

With Saturday’s Grand Prix, Bearman will become the youngest driver to compete for Ferrari and will surpass the record of Mexican Ricard Rodríguez, who had been the youngest when he took part in the Italian Grand Prix at the age of 19.

Bearman previously participated in two practice sessions in Mexico and Abu Dhabi last year as a test driver for the Haas team. He qualified in pole position in F2 this weekend, but will not be part of the event.

Last minute decision for Ferrari:

Sainz participated in both practice sessions on Thursday in Saudi Arabia and posted the sixth and seventh fastest times, but said he felt unwell and that affected his driving.

“Obviously a difficult day after feeling unwell, the last 24 hours have been difficult for me,” Sainz admitted on Thursday. “Today was all about trying to get out on the track and learn as much as I could about the car without pushing the limits too much since I wasn’t feeling very good yet.”

Sainz’s next opportunity to compete will be at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 24.