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Unfortunately, this was bound to happen in the end … Spared since the start of the season, Formula 1 is finally experiencing its first case of Covid-19 in the person of Sergio Pérez. Thursday, the Mexican pilot has indeed passed two tests which confirmed his contamination by the coronavirus, and therefore his immediate exclusion for a period of fifteen days. “In accordance with the health protocol put in place with the collaboration of local authorities, the driver Sergio Pérez has been quarantined and will follow the procedure imposed by these same authorities”, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a press release. “A tracking system has also been set up and all people who have been in contact with Pérez have also been quarantined.”

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A blow for the Racing Point team, which made a superb start to the season with a single-seater inspired – and even simply copied in the eyes of some – on the Mercedes of last year. In an emergency, the team leaders had to find a new teammate in Lance Stroll. Several names have circulated – with a few funny candidacies via Twitter from Jenson Button, Kamui Kobayashi or even MMA fighter Conor McGregor – two of which quickly stood out: those of George Russell and Nico Hulkenberg. Finally, Racing Point decided to focus on the experience of the German, who has already raced for four seasons under the colors of Force India, the former name of the team with pink single-seaters, in 2012 and then from 2014 to 2016. In addition, he was still racing in F1 last year at Renault, so his period of inactivity does not prove to be prohibitive.

For Russell, the opportunity would have been great to prove his worth behind the wheel of a car more competitive than his Williams, but it was complicated, in this time of health crisis, to engage in a game of musical chairs with suddenly a bucket being released within the British team. The simplest scenario was therefore to revive Hulkenberg in F1 for two races: the British Grand Prix this weekend at Silverstone and, on the same circuit, that of F1’s 70th anniversary next week. Then, barring any health complications for the Mexican, Pérez will resume his place at Racing Point.