Racing Point Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez was absent from the FIA press conference on Thursday’s media day for the British Grand Prix after an “inconclusive” COVID-19 test.

While it does not mean Perez has tested positive, the Mexican is currently isolating away from the circuit and has subsequently been forced to skip media duties at Silverstone while he awaits the results of a second test.

It is believed to be the first time an F1 driver has been forced to isolate due to an inconclusive test for coronavirus. It is the first time such a scenario has been made public. 

"Sergio Perez is not at the circuit today following an inconclusive test result," a statement from Racing Point said. "He is self-isolating awaiting the results of a retest."

All F1 personnel are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test before they are allowed into the paddock, and are retested frequently over the course of a grand prix weekend.

The measures are part of F1’s stringent hygiene protocols as part of its ‘biosphere’ environment to ensure that all events can go ahead as planned safely.

In the event of a positive test for Perez, Racing Point would need to call on the use of a reserve driver to replace him for the remainder of the British Grand Prix weekend.

Racing Point does not have an official reserve driver but has struck an agreement with engine supplier Mercedes to share the German manufacturer’s reserve drivers if required.

That would mean that either Mercedes Formula E driver Stoffel Vandoorne or former Haas F1 racer Esteban Gutierrez could deputise for Perez this weekend.

Vandoorne has not raced in F1 since the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for McLaren, while Gutierrez last contested the world championship race for Haas in 2016.

If needed, Racing Point would be likely to call on Gutierrez as Vandoorne is not on-site at Silverstone due to his clashing preparations for the final six races of the 2019-20 Formula E season in Berlin, which begin on August 5. 

 

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