Last Updated: 31/07/20 11:05am
Nico Hulkenberg will return to Formula 1 and race for Racing Point at the British GP in place of Sergio Perez after the Mexican tested positive for coronavirus.
Hulkenberg returns to the team he raced for in 2012 and 2014-16 when they were known as Force India and partners Lance Stroll this weekend.
The 32-year-old German, who last raced in F1 as recently as December for Renault, was unattached and was able to enter in the paddock less than 10 minutes before the opening practice session began at Silverstone after his negative COVID-19 test was confirmed.
Perez has entered a period of self-isolation after a retest for COVID-19 returned a positive result on Thursday evening. Racing Point have said the Mexican is “physically well and in good spirits” and following the isolation guidelines of the UK health authorities.
Perez was absent from the Silverstone circuit on Thursday after a previous test produced an inconclusive result.
In a video post on Twitter on Friday, Perez explained he had returned to Mexico for two days following the Hungarian GP after his mother was admitted to hospital, but flew on a private plane and followed all guidelines before and afterwards.
“I followed all the instructions from the FIA, from my team,” said Perez. “After Hungary I took a private plane to go to Mexico to see my mum for two days because she had a big accident.
“So as soon as she left hospital I was able to see her. Then I came back to Europe the same way with all the protocols in place and I just got it, I don’t know from where. I have no symptoms at all, so it just shows how vulnerable we are all.”
Perez, who last missed a race in 2011, added: “I’m extremely sad, definitely one of the saddest days of my career. The amount of preparation that we’ve put into this weekend to be 100 per cent ready for it. I knew I had a great car underneath me that the team have done a fantastic job.
“I’m really sad that this happened but it just shows how vulnerable we are all to this virus.”
More to follow…