Aston Martin have confirmed Sebastian Vettel will be back in the car for the Australian Grand Prix having recovered from COVID-19.
The four-time World Champion has yet to race in the 2022 season having tested positive in the build-up to the Bahrain Grand Prix.
He was then unable to produce a negative result in time for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix first practice session and as a result had to sit out that race as well.
However, Aston Martin have now confirmed the 34-year-old has tested negative and will be ready for the Australian Grand Prix weekend which begins on April 8.
The German will be returning to one of his favoured tracks having won two of the previous three races at the Albert Park Circuit. He has also finished on the podium there eight times.
Vettel‘s absence in Bahrain marked the end of a 15-year run for the German of having taken part in every race weekend since the 2007 European Grand Prix.
TEAM UPDATE: We are pleased to confirm that Sebastian Vettel is now fit to race and will therefore line up alongside @lance_stroll in Melbourne to kick off his 2022 @F1 season at the @ausgrandprix. 💚#F1 #AusGP pic.twitter.com/LrFqaHyQ8W
— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) March 31, 2022
Fellow German Niko Hulkenberg stepped in to replace Vettel but was unable to score any points having finished 17th in Bahrain and 12th in Saudi Arabia.
Despite his pointless finishes, Hulkenberg has been backed to stay on in the Aston Martin by Ralf Schumacher who suggested the team should drop Lance Stroll.
In his post-race column for Sky Germany, Schumacher said: “Let’s move on to Aston Martin. If I were them, I would stick with Nico Hulkenberg because he can obviously bring added value and has improved significantly in the race compared to Bahrain.
“And that was despite his tyre strategy being affected by the Safety Car. He did a great job, hats off.
“There are really only two possibilities – either he has been underestimated for years or current regular drivers should be reconsidered.”
Schumacher also raised doubts as to whether Vettel would continue in the sport should the Aston Martin car not significantly improve.
“If Sebastian Vettel comes back now, he can surely get a bit more out of the weakening car because he is also more familiar with the car,” he said.
“I could also imagine at least a small upgrade will come from Aston Martin. I can only hope that for Vettel’s sake, because I’m always a bit worried Vettel will quit at some point before he’s permanently just trailing behind.”
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