The fourth race of the modified Formula 1 season has been hit with a major blow as Racing Point driver Sergio Perez tests positive for COVID-19. The Mexican is the first driver to test positive since the onset of the pandemic earlier this year. Perez will sit out this weekend's British Grand Prix.
Perez and all of his close contacts have gone into self-quarantine in an effort to contain the virus. No other positive tests results have been reported throughout the entire F1 community, and it is expected that the British Grand Prix will proceed as planned.
It remains to be seen which reserve driver will take over from the sidelined Mexican. Racing Point and the Mercedes F1 team share the services of reserve drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez. Vandoorne seems to be a longshot, as he is currently preparing for the restart of the Formula E season. Gutierrez appears to be the obvious choice, but former Racing Point driver Nico Hulkenberg has been mentioned as a possible replacement as well.
The team has made it clear that they intend to race two cars in Silverstone on Sunday. However, with Free Practice about to start, no announcement has been made about the identity of the substitute.
"The entire team wishes Sergio well and looks forward to welcoming him back into the cockpit of the RP20 soon. Our intention is to race two cars on Sunday. We will communicate the next steps for our British Grand Prix weekend in due course," read a tweet from the official Racing Point page.
The team and several personalities made light of the situation, as they joked about soliciting a "favour" from someone who might have some free time over the weekend. Former F1 world champion Jenson Button volunteered his services.
Hilariously, "retired" MMA star Conor McGregor also accepted the challenge:
Meanwhile, Perez shared a video message to his fans, stating that he is extremely sad to be missing this weekend's race. He also shared how he tested positive following a visit to his sick mother in Mexico. He also warned about how everyone is vulnerable to the disease.
Two weeks ago in Hungary, two unnamed F1 staff members also tested positive for COVID-19. It remains to be seen if the Formula 1 season will be impacted even further by the isolated cases.