Updated: Aug 20
Written by Mario Rodríguez, edited by Tanishka Vashee
Aston Martin has announced Sebastian Vettel has tested positive for COVID-19, and will therefore isolate and miss the opening race of the season in Bahrain.
The four-time world champion will be replaced by the team's reserve driver, Nico Hülkenberg, who will make his first F1 appearance since the 2020 Eifel GP, where he finished in eighth place replacing Lance Stroll for Racing Point.
It is not the first time the virus forces a driver to miss a race. In 2020, Sergio Pérez was the first driver affected, missing both rounds at Silverstone while Hülkenberg made an unexpected F1 return. The same happened to his teammate Stroll at the Nürburgring and to Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix, where George Russell stepped up to the Mercedes for one race.
In 2021, Robert Kubica raced for Alfa Romeo in The Netherlands and Italy while Kimi Raikkonen isolated, while Nikita Mazepin missed the race in Abu Dhabi but couldn't be replaced as his positive test was detected on Sunday morning.
Aston Martin will enter a new era of Formula 1 without one of their main drivers but with the objective of keeping their project upwards. We wish Sebastian Vettel a speedy recovery.
What do you think they can achieve this season, and where will Hülkenberg finish? Let us know your opinion!