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Carlos Sainz: Ferrari driver expected to return at Australian GP after appendicitis and Oliver Bearman debut

Carlos Sainz is set to be back for Ferrari at this week's Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne; set your alarm clocks for the Australian GP, with Practice at 1am and 5am on Friday, Qualifying at 5am on Saturday and the race itself at 4am on Sunday - live on Sky Sports F1

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Take a look at the best moments from reserve driver Oliver Bearman’s debut race weekend for Ferrari where he stole the show finishing in a brilliant seventh place.

Carlos Sainz is expected to return at the Australian Grand Prix for Ferrari after recovering from successful appendix surgery.

The Spaniard participated in the opening two practice sessions at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix a day before being diagnosed with appendicitis and undergoing surgery on March 8.

Sainz's return means that British teenager Oliver Bearman, who is on standby to drive for Ferrari once more after taking an impressive seventh on debut in Jeddah, will instead resume his Formula 2 campaign in Melbourne.

On Wednesday, Sainz was included in Ferrari's official Australian GP media schedule, while team representatives have confirmed to Sky Sports that the plan is for him to drive.

Sainz, who is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season after the Italian team signed Lewis Hamilton for 2025, had made an impressive start to the season by claiming a podium at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix

While Red Bull have maintained their 2023 dominance with Max Verstappen leading Sergio Perez to one-twos in each of the opening races, Ferrari have clearly had the second strongest car.

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Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, and George Russell pay homage to Oliver Bearman who successfully stepped in to take Carlos Sainz's seat by securing P7 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Sainz's team-mate Charles Leclerc scored the team another podium in Saudi Arabia, while Bearman's strong performance reflected well on the car as well as driver.

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Bearman credited Sainz with playing a crucial role in his success after the Spaniard remarkably made it to the Jeddah circuit to provide support and guidance from the Ferrari garage just a day after his surgery.

Sainz has yet to secure a seat for the 2025 season, but is likely to have several options given his reputation as one of the sport's top operators.

Bearman eyes 2025 Haas seat

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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell congratulate debutant Oliver Bearman after an impressive seventh place in the Ferrari.

Bearman became Ferrari's youngest-ever driver in Jeddah and the third youngest in F1 history behind Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll.

With just 60 minutes of practice under his belt, Bearman marginally missed out on Q3 as he took P11 on the grid, before producing a faultless drive in the race at the hugely challenging high-speed circuit to hold off Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton for seventh.

The 18-year-old's mature showing has put him in contention for a permanent seat in 2025, where change to F1's driver line-up seems almost certain with more than half the grid out of contract at the end of the current campaign.

Asked about his prospects of earning a seat, Bearman said: "I don't know what else I can do because I don't think I'll be in F1 for the rest of the year. So that was my goal, to do a great showing in Saudi Arabia

"I think I did a decent job, so that's alright and that's all I can do, keep pushing in F2 and cross my fingers, that's it."

Image: Oliver Bearman impressed for Ferrari last time out in Saudi Arabia

The most likely landing spot for Bearman in 2025 would appear to be Haas, for whom he drove in two practice sessions last season, and is set to feature in more for this year.

The American-owned team share a close relationship with Ferrari, who supply their engines, gearbox and other parts allowed under F1's technical regulations.

"I have a lot of practices with Haas this year, so I'm looking forward to building up a relationship and gaining more miles in the car," said Bearman.

"And hopefully a door could open there (for 2025), that would be fantastic."

Sky Sports F1's live Australian GP schedule

The third round of the 2024 F1 season takes place on Sunday, with lights out at 4am on Sky Sports F1
Image: Australian Grand Prix schedule page

Thursday March 21

  • 4.30am: Live Drivers' press conference
  • 10.30am: Drivers' press conference replay
  • 9.45pm: F3 Practice
  • 10.55pm: F2 Practice

Friday March 22

  • 1am: Australian GP Practice One (session starts at 1.30am)
  • 2.55am: F3 Qualifying
  • 4.45am: Australian GP Practice Two (session starts at 5am)
  • 6.25am: F2 Qualifying
  • 7.15am: The F1 Show
  • 8.30am: Australian GP Practice One highlights
  • 10am: Australian GP practice Two highlights

Saturday March 23

  • 0.10am: F3 Sprint
  • 1.10am: Australian GP Practice Three (session starts at 1.30am)
  • 3.10am: F2 Sprint
  • 4.15am: Australian GP Qualifying build-up
  • 5am: Australian GP Qualifying
  • 7am: Ted's Qualifying Notebook
  • 7.30am: Australian GP Qualifying highlights
  • 8.30am: Australian GP Qualifying replay (Sky Showcase)
  • 10.30am: Australian GP Qualifying replay
  • 10pm: F3 Feature Race

Sunday March 24

  • 0.30am: F2 Feature Race
  • 3am: Australian GP build-up: Grand Prix Sunday
  • 6am: Australian GP reaction: Chequered flag
  • 7am: Ted's Notebook
  • 7.30am: Australian GP highlights
  • 8.30am: Australian GP build-up: Grand Prix Sunday replay
  • 9.30am: Australian GP race replay
  • 10am: Australian GP highlights (Sky Showcase)
  • 11.30am: Australian GP reaction: Chequered flag replay

Formula 1's biggest ever season continues with the Australian Grand Prix this weekend, with Sunday's race live on Sky Sports F1 at 4am. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - no contract, cancel anytime

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