Sainz says he will withdraw from Australian GP if he suffers on Friday

Carlos Sainz is keeping his options open for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, saying he will withdraw from the event if he finds Friday practice too difficult, as he attempts his comeback following abdominal surgery.

The Spaniard missed the Saudi Arabian GP after being diagnosed with appendicitis on the morning of qualifying, undergoing immediate surgery and leaving hospital on race day. Sainz will take part in Friday practice in Melbourne but despite showing the determination to drive in practice in Jeddah before his diagnosis, he says he isn’t afraid of admitting he can’t complete the rest of the weekend again if required.

“First of all, just by seeing me move and the exercises that I’m doing in the gym or anything, this tells me I’m fit to jump into the car tomorrow and try,” Sainz said. “But obviously, I’m not stupid, and if I don’t feel good tomorrow, I will be the first one to raise my hand and say that I need another two weeks to the next race.


“This, together with the FIA, is also the plan that we have in place. I have another check with the FIA tomorrow. They are monitoring my progress. I’m the first one that doesn’t want to be in pain or to suffer, to make it any worse. I’m not stupid, and I will be very clear with how I’m feeling and everything.

“On top of that, just going back to Thursday [in Jeddah], I wouldn’t have jumped in the car if it wouldn’t be possible. I did the 26 laps because I could, not because I was in agonizing pain. Yes, it was not an easy 26 laps per session, but I could get them done.”

Sainz says his recovery has been encouraging in the second week since the operation to remove his appendix, as he had to be patient in the initial days after returning home from Saudi Arabia.

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

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

Despite his optimism, Sainz admits he won’t be at his best during his comeback race, but he is hopeful that any loss of fitness won’t prove overly detrimental to his performance.

“First of all it’s possible thanks to the advances that the medicine has done in the last 20-30 years. When my dad had the operation — and maybe some of you guys had it 30-40 years ago — they cut you open. Nowadays with laparoscopy they do three very little holes — that speeds up the recovery, twice or three times as fast as what it used to be.

“The doctors after the operation said it’s obviously going to be tight — it’s 14 days from the operation until I jump in the car on Friday — but it’s possible. Obviously they don’t know what F1 is and the g-forces and everything, but ‘possible’ it is, and ‘possible’ I feel like it will be, given how I’m feeling now.

“Will I be at 100%? For sure not. 100% would mean spend 10 days training, doing 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 see how I feel tomorrow.”

Story originally appeared on Racer