Racing Point’s Sergio Perez has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
The Mexican is the first Formula 1 driver to test positive since the 2020 season made a belated start in Austria this month.
Perez has gone into self-quarantine, along with all his close contacts, as per F1’s track-and-trace system.
A statement from governing body the FIA said “procedures… have provided for swift containment”.
The statement adds that Perez’s positive test “will have no wider impact on this weekend’s event”.
Racing Point said Perez was “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 said it planned to enter two cars in the British Grand Prix and would “communicate the next steps in due course”.
Racing Point share reserve drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez with Mercedes.
Gutierrez, who last raced in F1 in 2016, is the designated reserve for this weekend, as Vandoorne, who raced for McLaren in 2017 and 2018, is preparing for the resumption of the Formula E season, in which he is a title contender.
However, Racing Point have the option of picking another driver if they choose, and other drivers are under consideration. The team may feel that they want a driver with more recent experience than Gutierrez.
In that sense, German Nico Hulkenberg – who left F1 at the end of last season after three seasons at Renault, before which he drove for Racing Point when it was known as Force India – would be a leading contender. Hulkenberg was Perez’s team-mate at the outfit from 2014-16.
F1 has a series of protocols that participants have to follow to minimise the risks with coronavirus.
This includes keeping teams separate from each other, having a series of ‘sub-bubbles’ inside each team to limit contact, and an extensive test, track and trace system.
The sport had considered it inevitable that there would be positive tests, but bosses believe the competition can continue as a result of its mitigation procedures.
The original season-opening race in Melbourne, Australia, was called off in March after some McLaren personnel tested positive.