Perez ‘99% sure’ to return at Spanish Grand Prix

Date published: August 9 2020

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez is expected to produce a negative next COVID-19 test result and race at next week’s Spanish Grand Prix, according to his Racing Point team boss.

The Mexican has missed both races at Silverstone having tested positive for the coronavirus upon returning from a trip to Mexico to visit his mother. His latest positive test was revealed on Friday morning.

Nico Hulkenberg is standing in for Perez and will hope for better luck from a P3 grid position in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix than he endured at the British Grand Prix, which he failed to start after his car could not be fired up in the garage.

Otmar Szafnauer, the Racing Point team principal, claims he has been accurately predicting what would happen – and if he keeps up such form, Perez will be back in action at Barcelona.

“Sergio was tested yesterday (Friday) and it seems like the amount of virus in his system is coming down significantly,” said Szafnauer, quoted by RaceFans.

“He was tested again today and we should have those results tomorrow (Sunday). I anticipate, whether we get a result tomorrow or early next week, he will be in the negative range.

“I think by the time we get to Barcelona he’ll be back in the car – but I’m trying to guess the future, so if that doesn’t happen don’t crucify me!

“But I was 99% sure that Nico [Hulkenberg] would be in the car for both Silverstone races and now I’m 99% sure that Checo will be in the car for Spain.”

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Szafnauer insists his team went through the appropriate channels regarding the possibility of getting Perez back in the car as soon as possible, including Eurofins Scientific, a Luxembourg-based company employed by F1 to conduct all tests, and they did not ignore any advice.

“We consulted a lot of experts, including a lab we use for all of our staff at Silverstone, consulted with the Eurofins experts as well,” added Szafnauer.

“You’ve got to remember this coronavirus is a novel virus, which means people don’t know much about it, and the experts gave us such a big range of when Checo would pass negative that it was worthwhile doing.

“They gave us a range of one week to four to five weeks. They said any time in that range he could test negative.

“It was all dependent on when he was first infected, which nobody could predict, so it made sense for us to try to get our contracted normal driver in as opposed to a stand-in.

“I think we did absolutely the right thing to continue to test him to see what was going to happen.”

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