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Formula 1

Racing Point ‘99% sure’ Perez will be back for Spanish GP

by Matt Beer
2 min read

Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer is “99% sure” Sergio Perez will be cleared to return to Formula 1 action for next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Perez has missed both of the events at Silverstone after testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of the British Grand Prix weekend, with confirmation stand-in Nico Hulkenberg would continue for the second Silverstone event only coming on Friday morning after the Mexican again tested positive.

Perez has now served his mandatory UK quarantine, which does not restart even in the case of additional positive tests. But this would have made no difference to his ability to race in Spain as individuals in quarantine are permitted to travel out of the country.

“Checo’s quarantine is over, he tested yesterday and it seems like the amount of virus in his system is coming down significantly from test to test,” said Szafnauer.

“He has tested again today and we should have those results tomorrow. I anticipate either we get a result tomorrow, or if we get a result early next week he will be in the negative range.

“So I think by the time we get to Barcelona, he will be back in the car. But I’m trying to guess the future so if that doesn’t happen don’t crucify me.

“But just looking at the rate of the virus leaving his system, if it’s linear, he should be OK by the time we get to Barcelona.”

Nico Hulkenberg Racing Point F1 2020

Szafnauer confirmed that Hulkenberg, who qualified third for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, would continue to drive for the team were Perez not to be available.

Asked to explain his team’s approach to attempting to get Perez cleared to race this weekend, Szafnauer explained that it was worth trying even though it was always unlikely he would test negative in time.

“We consulted a lot of experts, including the lab that we use for all of our staff in Silverstone,” said Szafnauer.

“You’ve got to remember, this coronavirus is a novel virus, which means people don’t know that much about it.

“The experts gave us such a big range of when Checo would test negative that it was worthwhile doing, a range of one week to four-to-five weeks.

“They said, any time in that range he could test negative.

“So it made sense for us to try to make our contracted and our normal driver in, as opposed to a stand-in.

“And I think we did absolutely the right thing to continue to test him, to see what was going to happen.”

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