Bahrain Grand Prix – Aston Martin have announced that Sebastian Vettel will miss the opening weekend after testing positive for covid-19.
The four-time world champion will be replaced in the cockpit by the team’s reserve driver, Nico Hulkenberg, who will make his fourth appearance as a covid substitute since the pandemic started.
In 2020 the German driver deputised for both Racing Point drivers at different points in the season – sitting in for Sergio Perez at the back-to-back weekends in Silverstone for the British and 70th Anniversary races, and for Lance Stroll at the Nurburgring for the Eifel Grand Prix.
While a powertrain issue prevented Hulkenberg’s car from even making it to the grid for his first race as substitute, he performed well in his other two appearances, taking points home for the team in both.
The news comes just a day after McLaren revealed that Daniel Ricciardo had recovered from his own bout of covid, which saw him miss the whole of the second test last week, and would be able to take part in the Grand Prix this weekend.
Vettel’s positive test means that this weekend will be the first since the European Grand Prix in 2007 not to feature the German driver, though it won’t be the first race start, or even the first Bahrain Grand Prix, without Vettel since then as an engine failure on the formation lap saw his Bahrain race end before it began in 2016.
UPDATE: Sebastian Vettel has tested positive for COVID-19 and will therefore not be taking part in the 2022 #BahrainGP.
Replacing him in the AMR22 will be Reserve Driver @HulkHulkenberg, who will be in the car from FP1 onwards. #F1 pic.twitter.com/36wnI8LUAC
— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) March 17, 2022