F1 driver Sergio Perez tests positive for coronavirus, out of British Grand Prix
Silverstone (United Kingdom) (AFP)
Formula One driver Sergio Perez has tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss this weekend's British Grand Prix, his Racing Point team said Thursday.
"Following the announcement that Sergio has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Silverstone Circuit ahead of the British Grand Prix, the team regrets to announce that he will be unable to participate in this weekend's race," said his team in a statement.
The 30-year-old Mexican is the first driver to test positive for the virus since the world championship made its delayed start in Austria earlier in July with strict testing protocols.
"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," added his team.
Perez will likely be replaced by either fellow-Mexican Esteban Gutierrez or Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne for Sunday's race, the fourth round of this season's truncated calendar.
Earlier, Racing Point said that Perez had returned an "inconclusive Covid-19 test."
He was absent from Thursday's official media activities as he awaited the outcome of a second test.
Formula One has a strict protocol for all involved at a Grand Prix with personnel tested before each event and every five days.
The F1 season has so far seen more than 15,000 tests.
Until Thursday, there had been only two positive results, both of which were for local set-up staff.
Racing Point said that Perez had not returned to Mexico since the Hungarian Grand Prix 10 days earlier.
Speaking before the Covid-19 delayed season began in Austria, Formula One chairman and chief executive Chase Carey said the sport would not cancel an event if a driver returned a positive test.
"We encourage teams to have procedures in place so if an individual has to go into quarantine, we have the ability to quarantine them at a hotel and then to replace that individual," he said.
Perez, who made his F1 debut in 2011, is sixth in the 20-driver championship after three rounds.
All three races so far in the world championship -- back-to-back events in Austria followed by the Hungarian Grand Prix -- have taken place behind closed doors.
© 2020 AFP