Nico Hulkenberg will replace Sergio Perez for the second Formula One race in a row after the Racing Point driver tested positive for coronavirus once again ahead of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix this weekend.
A Racing Point statement confirmed the news just two hours before first practice, with the Mexican failing his Covid-19 test despite spending the last seven days in isolation.
The statement read: “Nico Hulkenberg will continue to drive for BWT Racing Point F1 Team alongside Lance Stroll in this weekend’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone as a stand-in for regular driver, Sergio Perez.
“The 32-year-old German joined the team for last weekend’s British Grand Prix and immediately impressed as he got up to speed after eight months out of the cockpit.
“While Nico was unfortunately unable to start on race day, his running across the three practice sessions and qualifying will provide a strong starting point for the coming weekend.
“Having previously been part of the ‘Team Silverstone’ family in various stints as a test and race driver between 2011-2016, Nico reintegrated himself seamlessly.
“Sergio’s test has returned a positive result and he will continue to follow the guidance of Public Health England. He is physically well and recovering.
“The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”
PHE gave Perez permission to leave quarantine on Thursday after serving seven days in quarantine inside his motorhome at Silverstone, but under the FIA’s return-to-race protocols, a driver must pass two coronavirus tests before being allowed back into the paddock.
The 30-year-old believes he contracted coronavirus while travelling back to Mexico in between the Hungarian and British Grands Prix, after his mother was involved in a serious accident that left her in hospital.
Hulkenberg will hope to make it out onto the grid this weekend after his Racing Point failed to start up before last weekend’s British Grand Prix, with a sheared bolt within the Mercedes power unit preventing the 30-year-old from taking the race start.
"I'm excited to get going again with the team at Silverstone," said Le Mans 24 Hours winner Hulkenberg. "Last weekend, it was a real step into the unknown having been away from the team for a few years - and driving a car I'd never driven before.
"I am ready to apply my experiences to this weekend. Racing at the same track again makes things a bit easier and the team has done a great job in helping me get up to speed.
"I think we can fight for points this weekend, which is definitely my goal. I also want to wish Checo all the best in his recovery."
Racing point team principal Otmar Szafnauer added: "Nico did a really strong job last weekend after receiving a last-minute call to drive for us at Silverstone, and he proved why he was an obvious choice to stand in for Checo.
"It was a big shame he couldn't actually take the start of the race last Sunday, but all that hard work will prove very useful for this weekend.
"We miss having Checo with us, but we wish him well and look forward to welcoming him back into the team in the near future."
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies