British teenager Oliver Bearman to make F1 debut as Carlos Sainz's Ferrari sub at Saudi Arabia GP

File photo dated 08-09-2022 of British teenager Oliver Bearman, who will be handed his Formula One debut as a last-minute stand-in for Ferrari's Carlos Sainz at this weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Issue date: Friday March 8, 2024.
Credit: PA
Oliver Bearman will become the youngest Brit to start an F1 race. Credit: PA

British teenager Oliver Bearman has been handed his Formula One debut as a last-minute stand-in for Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz at this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard has been diagnosed with appendicitis and requires surgery, and – as a result – is ruled out of the second round of the 2024 championship.

Sainz’s absence through illness hands a dramatic debut to 18-year-old Bearman.

Ferrari reserve driver Bearman, who turns 19 in May, will become the youngest Briton to compete in a Formula One race.

A Ferrari statement read: “Carlos Sainz has been diagnosed with appendicitis and will require surgery.

“As from FP3 and for the rest of this weekend, he will be replaced by reserve driver Oliver Bearman.

“Oliver will therefore take no further part in this round of the F2 Championship. The Ferrari family wishes Carlos a speedy recovery.”

Oliver Bearman in action at free practice at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Credit: PA

Raised in Chelmsford, and schooled at King Edward VI Grammar, Bearman joined Ferrari’s driver academy, aged only 16, after he won both the German and Italian Formula Four championships.

Following four victories in his rookie Formula Two season – the feeder series to F1 – Bearman was thrust into the spotlight in Mexico City last October, eclipsing Lando Norris as the sport’s youngest Brit to take part in a practice session.

Carlos Sainz finished third in the season's first grand prix but will miss the second race. Credit: PA

On Saturday night Bearman, who also took part in practice for Haas at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, will now surpass Norris as the youngest British driver to start a Grand Prix.

He will become only the 12th British driver to compete for Ferrari and the first Englishman since Nigel Mansell in 1990.

Bearman will get a first taste of his Ferrari in final practice which gets under way at 4.30pm local time (1.30pm GMT) ahead of qualifying at 8pm (5pm GMT).

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