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British teen Ollie Bearman makes F1 debut in place of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz

British teenager Ollie Bearman will be handed his Formula One debut as a last-minute stand-in for Ferrari's Carlos Sainz at this weekend's Saudi Arabian GP.

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."

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.

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.

READ MORE: Ranking five rising stars who could break onto the F1 grid in coming seasons

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