Sergio Perez

Szafnauer: 99% sure Perez will be back for Barcelona

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez should return for Racing Point at next week’s Spanish Grand Prix after the Mexican Formula 1 driver missed two races due to COVID-19, team boss Otmar Szafnauer said on Saturday.

The 30-year-old Perez has tested positive in two tests but Szafnauer said recent samples showed the amount of virus in his system was coming down significantly.

“He has tested again today and we should have those results tomorrow. I anticipate… he will be in the negative range. I think by the time we get to Barcelona he’ll be back in the car,” Szafnauer told reporters in a video conference.

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

German stand-in Hulkenberg qualified third for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary race at Silverstone after failing to start the previous weekend’s British Grand Prix.

Asked why Racing Point had pushed for Perez’s return already this weekend, despite strict protocols to protect those in the paddock at races run behind closed doors, Szafnauer said the team had consulted experts.

“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 could test negative.

“It was all dependent on when he was first infected… so it made sense for us to try to get our normal driver in.”

Perez tested positive after returning to Mexico, one of the countries worst hit by the virus, between the races in Hungary and Britain to see his mother.