Nico Hulkenberg will again race for Racing Point in this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix as Sergio Perez continues to test positive for COVID-19.
Perez first tested positive for the virus last week, causing him to miss the British Grand Prix, with Hulkenberg called up as a last-minute replacement. With the timing of the Mexican’s first positive test leading to confusion regarding his isolation period, Public Health England clarified this week that Perez had completed a mandatory seven-day isolation, allowing him to attempt to return to racing.
However, Perez needed to provide a negative test result to be able to enter the paddock and he once again tested positive on Thursday, meaning Hulkenberg — who failed to start the race on Sunday due to a power unit issue — will deputize for the second consecutive weekend.
“Nico did a really strong job last weekend after receiving a last-minute call to drive for us at Silverstone, and he proved why he was an obvious choice to stand in for Checo,” team principal Otmar Szafnauer said.
“It was a big shame he couldn’t actually take the start of the race last Sunday, but the all that hard work will prove very useful for this weekend. We miss having Checo with us, but we wish him well and look forward to welcoming him back into the team in the near future.”
Hulkenberg missed out on vital track time due to being unable to start the last race, but says he will be aided by the fact Formula 1 is using the same circuit on back-to-back weekends.
“I’m excited to get going again with the team at Silverstone,” Hulkenberg said. “Last weekend, it was a real step into the unknown having been away from the team for a few years — and driving a car I’d never driven before. I’ve learned a lot in the last week about the RP20, and I am ready to apply my experiences to this weekend.
“Racing at the same track again makes things a bit easier and the team has done a great job in helping me get up to speed. I think we can fight for points this weekend, which is definitely my goal. I also want to wish Checo all the best in his recovery.”
Racing Point says Perez will continue to follow the advice of Public Health England. It is unclear if his latest test will require him to isolate for a further 10 days, but Szafnauer is hopeful he will be available for next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
“I hope so — he feels well in himself, he was asymptomatic I think for almost all the days. He had a headache for one of the days but that could have been from anything. We hope to get him back ASAP.”