Sergio Perez could be the first Formula One driver to test positive for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.
The Racing Point team announced that Perez wasn’t at the Silverstone circuit Thursday “following an inconclusive test result.”
Perez is self-isolating while awaiting the results of another test.
F1 has the most large-scale COVID-19 testing policy in motorsports. More than 10,000 tests have been conducted on team personnel (including drivers) since the series returned earlier this month. The series announced that two people had tested positive before its most recent race in Hungary on July 19.
According to multiple reports, Mercedes reserve test drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez would be available to race Sunday in the Pirelli British Grand Prix if Sergio Perez isn’t cleared by the second COVID-19 test.
Perez, 30, has finished a career-best second twice (at Malaysia and Monza in 2012) over 179 starts during an F1 career that began in 2011 with Sauber F1.
The Mexican driver, who also has been with McLaren and Force India, has finished sixth, sixth and seventh in the first three races of the 2020 season. Perez recently said he has a long-term contract with Racing Point beyond this season.
F1 has released reports on its COVID-19 testing every Friday. McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has praised the program and said he was warned for hugging driver Lando Norris after a third-place finish in the July 5 season opener at Austria.
“I don’t know exactly what every other racing series is doing, so it would be difficult for me to say they’re doing it right or wrong,” Brown said. “All I can really do is speak to what Formula One is doing, and they’re doing an unbelievable job.”
In order to enter the track, any F1 personnel (which includes drivers and team members) must have a negative COVID-19 test. Private testing was used ahead of those traveling to Austria. After entering the track, personnel are tested every five days with private medical teams at events along with extra screening.
UPDATE: @SChecoPerez is not at the circuit today following an inconclusive test result.
— BWT Racing Point F1 Team (@RacingPointF1) July 30, 2020