Alex Albon is suffering from appendicitis and will miss the remainder of the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
The Williams driver is to be replaced while he recovers by Nyck de Vries, who makes his Formula 1 race debut.
De Vries has already been on track at Monza for he took part in FP1 for Aston Martin on Friday – the third team this season he has represented in a ‘rookie driver test’.
Now the Dutchman, a former F2 and Formula E champion, will switch to the Williams garage to partner Nicholas Latifi for the rest of the weekend.
Williams confirmed the news about Albon in a statement on Saturday.
The statement read: “Williams Racing can confirm that after feeling unwell this morning, and seeking medical advice from the FIA and local hospital, Alex Albon is now undergoing treatment for appendicitis.
“Following on from this, we can confirm the team’s reserve driver, Nyck de Vries, will drive in place of Alex for the remainder of the Italian Grand Prix weekend.
“Alex is in good spirits and the team wish him a speedy recovery.”
Albon then posted a tweet of his own providing an update on his condition, which fortunately indicated he was in good humour despite the setback.
“Appendicitis, surgery and no racing isn’t what I was expecting this weekend!,” said the London-born Thai driver.
“Negatives: Missing out on what looks like a strong weekend for us; Pain
“Positives: Weight reduction for Singapore; Cool scars.”
Appendicitis, surgery and no racing isn’t what I was expecting this weekend!
– Missing out on what looks like a strong weekend for us
– Weight reduction for Singapore
– Cool scars pic.twitter.com/HOfA18eF5W
— Alex Albon (@alex_albon) September 10, 2022
Albon has scored all four of Williams’ points this season as they sit bottom of the Constructors’ Championship.
The reason why he suggested it could be “a strong weekend for us” was that the FW44’s impressive straight-line speed should be suited to the Monza layout – and also because at least seven cars from other teams are set to take power unit-related grid penalties, which could put Williams significantly higher up the starting order than usual.
De Vries was 19th of 20 in FP1 for Aston Martin, but only Sergio Perez completed fewer laps than the 27-year-old Dutchman who spent a significant portion of the session with his car in the garage.
It will be an interesting comparison between De Vries and Latifi this weekend as Williams mull over which driver they will choose to partner Albon next season.
Latifi is out of contract at the end of 2022 and has been unimpressive throughout this campaign, with the other leading contenders for his seat thought to be De Vries, Mick Schumacher and the team’s Academy prospect Logan Sargeant.
Albon, meanwhile, has three weeks to recover before the next F1 race weekend, the Singapore Grand Prix from September 30-October 2.