Sainz’s Incredible Journey to Fitness for Australian GP

The Ferrari driver underwent surgery to remove his appendix just a fortnight before the Australian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz has shared the extensive measures he took to ensure his fitness for the Australian Grand Prix, which involved the use of hyperbaric chambers and seeking specialized advice.

Having been sidelined from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix due to the appendectomy, the Ferrari driver faced uncertainty about his participation in the Melbourne race after spending nearly fourteen days recuperating in bed.

Despite concerns, Sainz showcased a remarkable performance at Albert Park following Max Verstappen’s retirement. He clinched victory, marking his third grand prix win in a Ferrari one-two.

However, the aftermath of the surgery was evident as he exhibited caution in his movements both in parc fermé and on the podium.

Reflecting on his win, which secured Ferrari’s fourth victory in the last six visits to Albert Park, Sainz disclosed that his body was still adjusting to the post-operative phase, remaining in “protection mode.”

He left no stone unturned in his quest for fitness, even consulting with Williams driver Alex Albon, who had undergone appendix removal surgery in 2022.

“I guess my body is still a bit in protection mode, so everything I do is a bit slower and a bit more cautious because obviously when [the doctors] go through your abdomen it is a weird feeling,” Sainz said to the media.

“Even if I’m a bit in protection mode, I can drive, no problem. Physically, what I felt towards the end of the race, [I was] just very stiff.

“Obviously, spending seven days in bed is, for your physical fitness and all the muscles, just not very healthy for an athlete.”

According to the NHS in Great Britain, it’s recommended to refrain from strenuous physical activity for 4-6 weeks following an appendectomy. This timeframe would have overlapped with the Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 19-21, indicating the timing of Sainz’s recovery.

Nevertheless, the departing Ferrari driver remained resolute in his determination to compete in Australia and promptly sought guidance to expedite his readiness for the Melbourne race.

“As soon as I got my appendix removed, I went on the internet and started talking with professionals and said: ‘Okay, what helps to speed up recovery?,” he further stated.

“From that point onwards, I started doing all the sort of things that you can do to speed up recovery, the wounds, the scar tissue, what you can help to be faster on that, talking to other athletes, talking to other doctors in Spain and internationally.

“Then I put together a plan with my team. The reason why athletes recover faster is because you can dedicate 24 hours per day for seven days to recovery, that’s exactly what I did.

“I started going to hyperbaric chambers twice a day for one hour, taking an Indiba machine, which is an electromagnetic thing for wounds.

“I was programming my time in bed, my time to go for a walk, my time to eat, the kind of food that you have to recover, everything was centred around recovery to try to be ready for Australia.

“Don’t worry, because in the second week [post surgery], every day is going to [be better than the last]’ – even Alex Albon told me this. So I just followed more or less what everyone told me and put together a good plan.”