Sergio Perez positive COVID-19
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Sergio Perez out after becoming first F1 driver to test positive for COVID-19

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Sergio Perez will miss Sunday’s British Grand Prix after becoming the first Formula One driver to test positive for the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

F1 announced the news Thursday a few hours after disclosing that Perez was retested because of an inconclusive first test.

F1 said Racing Point would announce a replacement for Perez “in due course.”

According to multiple reports, Mercedes reserve test drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez would be available to replace Perez Sunday in the Pirelli British Grand Prix.

In a statement, Racing Point said “Sergio is physically well and in good spirits, but he will continue to self-isolate under the guidelines of the relevant public health authorities, with safety the ultimate priority for the team and the sport. The entire team wishes Sergio well and looks forward to welcoming him back into the cockpit of the RP20 soon.”

The FIA said in a statement that “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.”

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. Sergio Perez will miss his first race since 2014 because of his positive result for COVID-19.

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.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.