Formula 1 driver Alex Albon is lucky he can even consider racing at the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend after the health complications that followed his appendicitis surgery two weeks ago.
Albon, who was replaced at the Italian Grand Prix by stand-in Nyck de Vries, suffered respiratory failure and was taken to intensive care after what would otherwise have been routine surgery.
He was released from the hospital a few days later and began training in Singapore, the most physically demanding on the F1 calendar. His training included go-karting to see his body recover from his hospital stay.
Albon, who had already confirmed his intention to race, said he was lucky he only missed one event.
“In terms of failures, they are actually small,” Albon said on Thursday. “I missed the race, I was very lucky. In Italy, I was surrounded by very good doctors who helped me return to a good place.
“I was very lucky. I only missed one race, so it doesn’t really matter.”
Albon said that the nature of the setbacks he experienced in the hospital meant that at the time he was not fully aware of what had happened.
“Fortunately, I was heavily drugged, so I hardly remember anything. I only remember going to the operation.
“It’s a relatively simple procedure. I think the operation will only take a couple of hours. But you don’t understand the time when you’re sedated. Obviously, it was more the influence of the people around me, so when I woke up, I thought that everything was done, that the procedure was complete.
“They said, ‘Actually, you’ve been through a little more.’ Eventually I had to be under anesthesia for two or three days, but in the end my lungs cleared out within 12 hours, so I was up soon after.
“For me it was not so important, but for my family, who came to the race, they were a little shocked. That’s all”.
Asked what he’s most worried about when he returns, Albon said: “I would say it’s more Singapore. This is humidity. This is by far the most difficult race of the year. [to last year], maybe not faster, but they are physical in their own way. They are so tough that this is another price to pay for your body.
“As for the operation, I don’t worry about it at all, I know that I have fully recovered. It’s more just the consequences of being in intensive care, basically, and the losses that are inflicted on your body. But I wouldn’t be here. if I didn’t think I could race.”
Albon said that by the end of Friday’s two practices, he will have a clear idea of whether his body is ready for Sunday’s races.