MADRID – FIA and the organizers of the Formula One World Championship said on Thursday that Mexican Racing Point driver Sergio “Checo” Perez has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be unable to compete in this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
Racing Point has not yet announced a replacement for Perez, who has become the first F1 driver to contract the illness.
“Following today’s announcement that Sergio Perez of the BWT Racing Point Formula 1 Team produced an inconclusive test result for COVID-19 at the Silverstone Circuit ahead of the 2020 FIA Formula 1 British Grand Prix, the FIA and Formula 1 can now confirm that the result of his re-test is positive,” the joint statement said.
“Perez has entered self-quarantine in accordance with the instructions of the relevant public health authorities, and will continue to follow the procedure mandated by those authorities,” they added.
“With assistance of the local organizer of the British Grand Prix, local health authorities and the FIA COVID-19 delegate, a full track and trace initiative has been undertaken and all close contacts have been quarantined,” the statement said.
The procedures established by FIA and Formula One “have provided for swift containment of an incident that will have no wider impact on this weekend’s event.”
Racing Point, for its part, said in a statement that it “regrets to announce that (Perez) will be unable to participate in” the fourth race of the season.
“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 team added.
“Our intention is to race two cars on Sunday. We will communicate the next steps for our British Grand Prix weekend in due course.”
The 30-year-old Perez is currently sixth in the drivers’ standings with 22 points after three races of the coronavirus-delayed F1 season. Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are atop the standings with 63 points and 58 points, respectively.
Both Perez and eighth-place Canadian teammate Lance Stroll are seeing improved results in their RP20 cars, which are very similar to the W10 model that Mercedes – the six-time defending constructors’ champion – raced last year.
Racing Point is now fourth in this year’s constructors’ championship standings with 40 points, while Mercedes (121 points) once again is in first place and lapping the field.
The 2020 F1 season currently comprises just 13 races, all of them in Europe, although more are expected to be added outside that continent later in the year.