Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez tested positive for the corona virus and will miss the UK Grand Prix this weekend, his Racing Point team said today.
The organizers insisted that the race continue on Sunday as the incident “will have no major impact on the event”.
“Unfortunately, after announcing that Sergio had tested positive for COVID-19 at the Silverstone Circuit prior to the UK Grand Prix, the team had to announce that it would not be able to race this weekend,” Racing Point said in a statement .
The 30-year-old Mexican is the first driver who has tested positive for the virus since the World Cup in Austria started late in early July under strict health protocols.
Racing Point has denied that Perez has returned to Mexico from Hungary after the GP, despite being spotted at a Guadalajara restaurant on July 21. ESPN also reports that the driver’s wife, Carola Martinez, posted photos of the couple on Instagram that have since been deleted in Italy between races in Hungary and the UK.
“Sergio is physically healthy and in good spirits, but he will continue to isolate himself according to the guidelines of the responsible health authorities, with safety for the team and the sport being the top priority,” said Perez ‘team.
Perez will likely be replaced by his compatriot Esteban Gutierrez or Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne for Sunday’s race, the fourth round of the season’s shortened calendar.
Racing Point previously said Perez returned a “non-conclusive COVID-19 test”. He was not present at the official media activities on Thursday as he was waiting for the result of a second test.
F1 has a strict protocol for everyone involved in a Grand Prix with staff that is tested before every event and every five days.
So far, more than 15,000 tests have been carried out in the F1 season. As of Friday, there were only two positive results, both of which were intended for the local setup staff.
“Perez has entered the self-quarantine according to the instructions of the relevant health authorities and will continue to follow the procedure prescribed by these authorities,” said a statement from Formula 1 and the FIA management body.
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“With the support of the UK Grand Prix organizer, local health authorities and the FIA COVID-19 delegate, a comprehensive Track & Trace initiative was carried out and all close contacts were quarantined.
“The procedures established by the FIA and Formula 1 have enabled a rapid containment of an incident that will have no major impact on the event this weekend.”
Before the late COVID-19 season in Austria began, F1 chairman and general manager Chase Carey said that the sport would not cancel an event if a driver returned a positive test.
“We encourage teams to have procedures in place. If a person needs to be quarantined, we can quarantine them in a hotel and then replace them,” he said.
Perez, who made his F1 debut in 2011, is sixth in the 20 drivers’ championship this season after three laps.
All three races to date – successive races in Austria, followed by the Hungarian Grand Prix – have been held behind closed doors.
Perez had started each of the last 122 races since his absence from the 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix.
The 2020 season should have started in Melbourne in March, but the race was canceled after McLaren retired when one of his team members tested positive for the corona virus.
– – AFP