Sergio Perez has been ruled out of the British Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19. The Mexican did not come to the track on Thursday and had isolated himself after an ‘inconclusive’ test. But later on in the day, after a second test, the results came. Racing Point’confirmed that Sergio Perez had contracted the coronavirus. The team also confirmed on social media that he will nor be participating in this weekend’s race.
A Racing Point spokesperson confirmed a small group of team members were in contact with Perez. They started self-isolating before the second test’s results. This was as a precaution and the team members were re-tested, as is standard procedure.
Formula 1 and the FIA have made a statement about the confirmation of Perez’s test results as well.
“Perez has entered self-quarantine in accordance with the instructions of the relevant public health authorities, and will continue to follow the procedure mandated by those authorities,” read a statement issued by Formula 1 and the FIA.
“With the assistance of the local organiser of the British Grand Prix, local health authorities and the FIA COVID-19 delegate, a full track and trace initiative has been undertaken and all close contacts have been quarantined.
“The procedures set out by the FIA and Formula 1 have provided for swift containment of an incident that will have no wider impact on this weekend’s event.”
As mentioned by Racing Point in their statement, Perez is ‘physically well and in good spirits’. As you would imagine, he will try to return to cockpit ASAP, seeing his good start to the season. He currently sits in 6th place in the standings. And his car is looking to be the second-best car on the grid, behind the dominating Black Arrows. Even though the team confirmed he was in good spirits, Perez said otherwise. He made a video for his fans. He was speaking for the first time since the news came that he tested positive for the virus.
Perez ‘Extremely Sad’ About The News After He Visited His Injured Mother In Mexico
“As you know I tested positive for Covid-19,” he said in the video message to fans.
“I’m extremely sad – definitely one of the saddest days in my career. The amount of preparation we put into this weekend to be 100% ready, I knew I had a great car underneath me, that the team had done a fantastic job.
“I’m really sad that this happened, but it just shows how vulnerable we all to this virus. I follow all the instructions from FIA, from my team. After Hungary I took a private plane to Mexico to see my mum for two days because she had a big accident. So as soon as she left hospital I was able to see her.
“Then I came back to Europe, same way, with all the protocols in place. And I just got it, I don’t know from where. I have no symptoms at all. So it just shows how vulnerable we all are to this. I want to thank all my fellow drivers for all the support they have given me, my team, the authorities, the fans.
“These are certainly tough moments for me at the moment, but I am sure I will come back stronger from this. Just stay safe, look after yourself, look after your families and hope to see you soon at a race track.”
Sergio Perez, also known by his radio name Checo, will also miss the 70th Anniversary GP. This will also be at Silverstone. To know more about this, check out our post about the first 8 races of the revised F1 calendar. And when Racing Point’s Team Principal Otmar Sfazneur was asked questions about Perez returning to Mexico, he defended the driver completely.
“I don’t think Checo did anything wrong going back to his family, he takes all the precautions. I think it’s no different to Ferrari going back to Italy, for example,” said.
“We’ve got no clauses in the contract where he’s got to ask for permission to go back to his family. I think his family was in Mexico and it’s not a surprise that he went back to Mexico, that’s what he’s done forever while he’s been driving for us.
“We did though discuss how he was flying there and back. It was always via private flight so never commercially. So there’s no issue with that.
“He’s OK, we’re going to check on him daily, send a doctor to him – he’s quarantining now – and we just have to make sure the virus gets out of his system and he comes back racing.”
Perez’s personal assistant and physiotherapist, two members of Racing Point, travelled with him but had tested negative for the virus. Even so, they will also be quarantining. Szafnauer also added that he was “unsure” whether Perez would have to quarantine for seven or 10 days following his positive test result, meaning he could also have to sit out the next Grand Prix at Silverstone, next week. Racing Point can’t afford to have only 1 driver carrying the team for 2 whole races, so they had to replace Checo. Luckily, they found the perfect driver.
The Hulk Is Back! (Temporarily)
HULK IS BACK! I recently did a German GP Tribute, racing as Nico Hulkenberg since he had retired from F1. Now he’s back! Racing Point has an agreement with Mercedes that gives them access to Mercedes’ reserve drivers. Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez are 2 former Formula 1 drivers, but they don’t have any recent F1 experience. Besides, Vandoorne is unavailable because he is a full-time Formula E driver. And Gutierrez last raced in F1 in 2016. Hulkenberg raced for Renault in 2019, his last race being the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. And suddenly, the German was outside Silverstone on Friday morning, and the news had come that Hulkenberg was replacing Perez. He has made a shocking return to Formula 1!
He knew it wasn’t the end of his career last year. There was a golden chance of the German returning to Renault in 2021. Sainz moved from McLaren to Ferrari, Ricciardo moved from Renault to McLaren, leaving a seat open for Renault’s 2021 lineup. But then Fernando Alonso came up on the radar, and the news came that the 2-time World Champion was making a remarkable return to Formula 1 with Renault. The chances for that kind of return wasn’t too big, since Renault were the team that Hulkenberg was racing for from 2017 – 2019. At the end of 2019, Renault decided not to renew his contract, and give the 2020 seat to Esteban Ocon instead. The teams had no seats left in F1 for Hulkenberg.
This opportunity with Racing Point is his chance to prove that he is worthy of F1. He is a veteran since he has a good 10 years of experience in F1 under his belt. It is no wonder that Racing Point gave the temporary seat to him. The Hulk has raced for Force India in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016, Force India being Racing Point’s previous form. This meant he knew the personnel well, making one reason he was the best option. He was forced to leave F1, meaning he still had a lot left in him. He is very competitive, and speedy on the track.
Hulkenberg had was going to go to Germany to do punditry for TV channel RTL. Then he was due to do a testing run in a GT4 car for fun at the Nurburgring this weekend. But suddenly, the German was flying from Majorca, where he was spending lockdown, to the UK.
FUN FACT: Sergio Perez was Hulkenberg’s teammate for 3 years at Force India, and now he is replacing him!
“I was on my way to the Nürburgring for another racing project when the call from Otmar came,” said Hulkenberg on Friday. “That was less than 24 hours ago, so it feels a bit surreal for me right now, but I like a good challenge and this is certainly one.
“It’s obviously a difficult situation for Racing Point and Checo. He’s a buddy of mine, an old team-mate and I wish him a speedy recovery. I’ll step in and try do the best I can for the team!”
Otmar Szafnauer, Racing Point Team Principal, added: “Having to find a replacement for Sergio at short notice is no easy task, but in Nico we’ve got a fantastic supersub who the team knows very well. He’s certainly being thrown in at the deep end, but he’s a fast learner and I’m sure he will get up to speed quickly.”
“The G-force it’s tough to train for because it’s so unique, it’s so special. Even though I’m in decent shape, this kind of G-force, especially around here, once of the fastest high-speed tracks, in 35 degrees, the hottest day of the UK so far… I got the best of everything!
“My body will feel it tomorrow and the day after, but yeah, it’s obviously a huge challenge but I’m not shy of that one,” said Hulkenberg on Friday.
All eyes are on Racing Point and Hulkenberg, as the RP20 is looking pretty fast on track. This is also because the top teams are having trouble. However, we are going to have to wait for qualifying to know the Hulk’s true pace, because that’s when he is going to feel the speed, and get up to pace. This is the end of the post; I am sure that all of you are very excited like me about the return of Nico Hulkenberg. Stay safe, and stay on the lookout for new posts!