Update V 14.45h (31/07) | Szafnauer confirms: Hülkenberg may also be driving for Racing Point next week. Formula 1

Update V 14.45h (31/07) | Szafnauer confirms: Hülkenberg may also be driving for Racing Point next week.

By Robert McGillivray 31 July 2020 | 11:06


Sergio Pérez is in isolation at Silverstone in Great Britain. A routine corona test showed irregular values, so the driver is now undergoing a second test to see if he is infected.

The driver has been removed from his team and is waiting for the second corona test in isolation. A positive test on COVID-19 will be a big blow to the Racing Point F1 team: never before has a driver in Formula 1 been infected with the virus.

Vandoorne or Gutiérrez as replacements

Should the Racing Point driver be unable to race due to contamination, Stoffel Vandoorne or Esteban Gutiérrez could fill in. Both drivers are on the list as reserve drivers at Mercedes but will be lent to the 'pink Mercedes' if necessary.

The chance that Vandoorne will be in action during the British Grand Prix seems small: although the Belgian is appointed as reserve driver, he will not be present at the Silverstone circuit this weekend.  (Photo: Racing Point F1)

Update I | After Perez, Racing Point personnel in isolation

Several Racing Point staff have been placed in isolation after doubts about Sergio Perez's corona test. These staff members, like Perez, will be retested.

There is still uncertainty about Perez's test, but apparently, no half measures are being taken. However, it will not have a massive impact on the team since isolation is limited to a small number of employees.

Update II | Pérez tests positive, Guttiérez takes over seat

It's been confirmed. Sergio Pérez has tested positive for the coronavirus. This means that the Mexican driver will not be able to compete in the upcoming Grand Prix. Esteban Guttierez, reserve driver at Mercedes, will replace him.

Earlier this afternoon it became clear that the Mexican drivers' test may have revealed that he was infected with the coronavirus. He had to go into isolation and take a second test. Which has now confirmed he is positive. It's also the question of how long he won't be able to participate. Chances are that Guttierez will take over his seat next weekend as well. 

Update III 10:00 (31/07) | Hülkenberg returns to Formula 1 and replaces COVID-19 positive Perez

Nico Hülkenberg returns to Formula 1 as a temporary replacement for Sergio Perez. The Mexican has tested positive for the coronavirus and so a seat is open for the former Formula 1 driver to make some more miles at the British Grand Prix this weekend.

It was already reported by the German RTL that The Hulk would drive the Racing Point. Only the result of his corona test could stand in the way of Hülkenberg. Now that this has turned out to be negative, the driver who drove for Renault last year will be able to take his place in a Formula 1 car once again.

Update IV 12:05u (31/07) | Hülkenberg reacts to return to Formula 1

Nico Hülkenberg had not seen it coming that he would be in a Formula 1 car for the British Grand Prix. The German takes over from Sergio Perez, who is currently in self-isolation after the Mexican tested positive for the coronavirus.

I was on my way to the Nürburgring for another racing project when the call came from Otmar Szafnauer', Hülkenberg starts. That was less than 24 hours ago, so it feels a bit surreal for me now, but I like a good challenge and this is definitely one'.

"Clearly a difficult situation for Racing Point"

Hülkenberg was quick to make a decision. "It is clearly a difficult situation for Racing Point and Checo. He is a buddy of mine, an old teammate and I wish him a speedy recovery. I'll get in the car and try to do my best for the team," concludes Hülkenberg.

Update V 14.45h (31/07) | Szafnauer confirms: Hülkenberg may also be driving for Racing Point next week.

Nico Hülkenberg could also be driving for Racing Point next weekend. Team boss Otmar Szafnauer confirms this after the first Friday practice session. 

Because Sergio Perez tested positive for the coronavirus, he will have to be quarantined. In Great Britain, people who have tested positive have to spend ten days in self-isolation and so Perez also misses the 70th anniversary Grand Prix, which is held at Silverstone. Szafnauer confirms that Hülkenberg will replace him.

However, it is uncertain whether Perez will actually have to be quarantined for ten days. The number of seven days is also mentioned and that would mean that the Mexican could be in the RP20 next weekend, provided he tests negative for corona.

That also means that permanent reserve rider Esteban Gutiérrez will not replace Perez again. According to Szafnauer, Racing Point chose Hülkenberg because the German, compared to Gutiérrez, is better acquainted with the team and has more recent experience in Formula 1. Gutiérrez last race was the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi 2016. Hülkenberg drove a Formula 1 race for the last time in December 2019.


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