Nikita Mazepin will not contest the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP, the Haas driver having tested positive for Covid-19.
Mazepin qualified P20 for the season finale at the Yas Marina circuit but will have to sit out the race after recording a positive Covid-19 test.
The good news is that Haas reports that the driver is feeling well and is asymptomatic.
“Uralkali Haas F1 Team driver Nikita Mazepin has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Yas Marina Circuit ahead of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,” the team said in a statement.
“The team therefore regrets to announce that Nikita will be unable to participate in the race.
“Nikita is physically well, having been asymptomatic, but he will now self-isolate and adhere to the guidelines of the relevant public health authorities, with safety the ultimate priority for all parties concerned.
“Uralkali Haas F1 Team wish Nikita well and we look forward to his return to the race track in early 2022 for pre-season testing.”
Hi, everyone! Sorry to report I’ve had a positive Covid test. Feeling totally fine but won’t be able to race today. Wishing all my fellow drivers a fantastic end to the season and sending thanks and love to everyone for their support. 🙏❤️
— Nikita Mazepin (@nikita_mazepin) December 12, 2021
The timing, though, means Haas won’t be allow to fill the seat, the team starting the race with just one car on the grid, Mick Schumacher.
The FIA confirmed that the team’s reserve driver, Pietro Fittipaldi, would not be permitted to replace Mazepin as he has not put in a single lap this weekend.
“The FIA, Formula 1 and Haas F1 Team can today confirm that during onsite PCR testing for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Nikita Mazepin has tested positive for COVID-19,” read the FIA statement.
“In accordance with COVID-19 protocols he will take no further part in this Event. All contacts have been declared.
“There will be no replacement driver in accordance with article 31.1 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, which prohibits any driver from starting the race who has not taken part in at least one practice session.
“The procedures set out by the FIA and Formula 1 will ensure no wider impact on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”
Mazepin’s positive test is the first for a driver this season, although last year Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Lewis Hamilton all missed races after testing positive.