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Formula 1

How Albon’s ambitious bid to recover for Singapore is going

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
4 min read

Alex Albon has stepped up his recovery efforts following the complications of his appendicitis surgery in a bid to be fit for Formula 1’s Singapore Grand Prix next week.

The Williams driver was forced to miss the Italian Grand Prix after being diagnosed with appendicitis on the Saturday morning.

He was treated at San Gerardo hospital in Italy and had laparoscopic surgery later that day.

However, Albon then ended up in intensive care after suffering “post-operative anaesthetic complications, which led to respiratory failure”.

He fortunately made swift progress after being re-intubated and was removed from mechanical ventilation, before being transferred to a general ward and then returning home to Monaco in the following week.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Dutch Grand Prix Race Day Zandvoort, Netherlands

Albon is understood to have suffered no further complications, aiding his efforts to race again in Singapore.

He set that target swiftly after returning home although when he released a public video message six days after his admission to hospital, Albon admitted it would be “tough”.

“It’s one of the toughest races that we go to, so not an easy one, but let’s aim high and see what happens,” he said at the time.

The Race understands that Albon’s goal is still to race in Singapore next week. It is part of an Asian double-header, with the Japanese Grand Prix following one week later.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Singapore Grand Prix Race Day Singapore, Singapore

Albon has increased his fitness preparation this week and while it is a major challenge to be ready for one of F1’s most physically-demanding races, he is believed to be determined to race if he can.

Singapore’s 3.1-mile Marina Bay street circuit is a slow-speed track but it requires immense concentration and is widely regarded as one of the most mentally-taxing grands prix.

And even though the race takes place at night it is usually around 30 degrees with high humidity, making it gruelling from a physical standpoint as well.

Albon has had an intense week of training and recovery but is not going to compromise his preparation to compete in Singapore.

He will only drive if ready and Williams is prepared to give Albon as much time as possible to recover.

A decision is likely to be made early next week. Reserve driver Nyck de Vries, who deputised for Albon in Italy and scored points on his F1 debut in the process, is preparing for another potential substitute appearance if needed.

The Race says

Alexander Albon Williams F1

While the exact prognosis for Albon’s recovery will only be known by a few people we can safely conclude he has set an aggressive target to race in Singapore.

Recovery time from keyhole surgery after appendicitis, with or without complications, is going to vary from person to person. As a sportsperson Albon is obviously very fit which will no doubt expedite his return to full health.

But his version of “full health” will be different as well. He may have a swifter route to “normal activities” than most people but Albon needs to return to a level of fitness that goes beyond normal activities.

Reading about recovery from his surgery (even without the respiratory failure complications and slightly extended time in hospital including a stint in intensive care), and also consulting a medical professional, a conservative estimate is that even a fit person like Albon would normally be best to wait weeks (plural) before physically exerting himself at a high level. That covers weight-related stress (heavy lifting, which driving an F1 car in Singapore would certainly qualify as) but also engaging the abdominal muscles (and being a racing driver certainly puts stress on the core).

The bottom line: don’t underestimate what Albon is trying to achieve. Especially when he has no reason to on the surface. He’s not fighting for anything in the championship, his future is secured, Williams doesn’t exactly have Monza levels of expectation for Singapore (probably a good reason for Italy super-sub Nyck de Vries to avoid another call-up!) and there are more races to come in 2022.

Albon will not compromise his wider health to race next weekend and he also won’t cut corners to pretend he’s healthy. He’ll either be ready or not.

If he can’t drive, it will not be for the lack of trying.

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