Racing Point’s Sergio Perez tested positive for coronavirus ahead of this weekend’s Formula 1 British Grand Prix and will be replaced by a yet-to-be confirmed driver.
As part of F1s newly-introduced protocols to ensure the safety of personnel, all members of the paddock are tested every five days for COVID-19.
Prior to his visit to Silverstone for F1’s second triple header, a routine swab test for Perez returned inconclusive results following which he entered self-isolation.
A coronavirus test is used to detect two particular COVID-19 genes and a patient is declared positive if both genes are found. However, if only of those genes is present, the test may produce an inconclusive result
A second test was carried out on Thursday, with the result announced in the evening revealing Perez has coronavirus.
Racing Point subsequently issued a statement revealing that the Mexican driver is “physically well and in good spirits” and “will continue to follow the procedure mandated by those authorities”, including entering a period of mandatory quarantine.
Perez isn’t the first racing driver to contract coronavirus, with seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson also testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, despite not showing any symptoms.
This caused Johnson to miss the Brickyard double header, but the 44-year-old was able to make a return to racing at Kentucky after returning two negative tests.
While the Australian Grand Prix had to be cancelled after two members of the McLaren team were declared coronavirus positive, F1 will press on with the British GP, having previously stated that the provisions they have put in place will allow the show to go ahead even if 10 members of the paddock are tested positive.
These measures include dividing the paddock into self-contained social bubbles to ensure each person comes in close contact with only a small group of people.
Racing Point revealed that the staff which came into contact with Perez are all in self- isolation now.
How long is Sergio Perez out of Formula 1
The FIA and Racing Point have already announced that Perez will miss this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
As per the UK regulations, a coronavirus positive patient must undergo quarantine for 10 days, which would rule out Perez for next weekend’s second race at Silverstone – the 70th Anniversary GP – as well.
This means the Spanish Grand Prix on August 14-16 is the earliest Perez can make his grand prix return, provided he fully recovers from the infection and returns negative results.
However, should he be not fit with the Barcelona race, the Belgium Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps on August 28-30 will be his next opportunity to make a comeback.
Who will replace Sergio Perez?
Racing Point said in a statement that it plans to enter both cars at Silverstone, but the exact identity of his replacement is yet to be revealed.
Nico Hulkenberg has emerged as Racing Point’s favourite candidate, having raced for the outfit in its Force India guise in 2012 and again between 2014-16.
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