Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, Silverstone, 2020

Hulkenberg on standby as Racing Point await clarification on duration of Perez’s quarantine

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg will drive for Racing Point again this weekend if Sergio Perez is ruled out of competing in his second race in a row.

Perez tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday. Last week Britain extended the minimum quarantine period for anyone who exhibits Covid-19 symptoms from seven days to 10.

Due to the timing of Perez’s tests and the change in regulations, Racing Point is awaiting a clarification from the relevant health body as to how the restriction applies to their driver.

Racing Point CEO Otmar Szafnauer explained the confusing surrounding Perez’s ‘inconclusive’ test on Wednesday and subsequent positive test on Thursday which forced him out of the British Grand Prix weekend.

“There was a little bit of confusion because it was on that cusp,” he said. “The inconclusive test was only inconclusive by FIA standards. By [Public] Health England standards that inconclusive test on Wednesday would have been a positive.

“So you could look at it and say, well, it’s the [Public] Health England standards and therefore a positive on Wednesday already. On Wednesday you had to quarantine for seven days. The 10 days that came in the following day may or may not be retroactive. That’s the bit I don’t know.

“So we’ll ask that question of [Public] Health England and whatever they say, that’s what we’ll do. We will comply with whatever they deem is right in this situation. But I think the ambiguity comes in because it was just on that transition.”

Racing Point advised RaceFans on Tuesday evening it was still awaiting a clarification on Perez’s situation. However the fact of his positive test on Thursday makes it unlikely the team will be able to gain permission for him to race this weekend.

Even if that hurdle is cleared, Perez would still have to demonstrate he is no longer carrying the virus before he is able to return.

“If Checo still has virus in his system, we don’t want him in the paddock either,” Szafnauer confirmed. “We’ve got to protect our team and everyone else in the sport. That’s exactly what we will do.”

In a social media post yesterday, Perez said he “hasn’t had any symptoms” and is “looking forward to coming back very soon.”

Szafnauer praised Hulkenberg’s performance during the weekend, though he was unable to start the race due to a power unit failure.

“It’s a different car that he drove before, different power train,” said Szafnauer. “The team’s similar to when he was here but he still had a different engineer as his old engineer’s on Lance [Stroll]’s car. But the rest of the guys he worked closely with. So he did a remarkable job. It was a steep learning curve, and he did great to qualify where it did.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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35 comments on “Hulkenberg on standby as Racing Point await clarification on duration of Perez’s quarantine”

  1. This is not something where you try to find a loophole!

    1. Indeed, I am sure the medici will explain if he has the virus he has to be cleared virus free before returning. He can feel fine but if he spreading by just breathing the F1 season is over.

      1. The Medici were more into horse racing than F1 anyway.

  2. I don’t see what difference it makes. Here in Australia, you are only declared free of the virus once you return negative results over 2 successive days. There should be no set quarantine time, it should be based purely on whether the virus is detectable in your system by any reasonable metric. If it is, you stay locked away.

    1. @trido Yeah but you see, it’s not about having the decease or spreading it. It’s about following arbitrary rules. #logic

    2. When the virus is no longer detectable that does not mean it is completely defeated, just that the numbers are too low to register. The quarantine period is necessary for the body to get rid of the last remaining virus.

    3. @trido That’s what Otto is saying…

      “If Checo still has virus in his system, we don’t want him in the paddock either,” Szafnauer confirmed.

      The PHE advice will decide whether he even bothers attending the circuit or Racing Point HQ. If they come back and say ‘he’s covered by the 7-day ruling’, he would still need to pass the FIA test and I’m guessing that even if it returns inconclusive again, he will be excluded. The FIA and Liberty know they can’t afford to take any chances, what-so-ever.

  3. Such a stupid thing. Rule him out for common sense reasons and move along. Its abysmal that the FIA haven’t formally stated their opinion.
    On Sunday Ted Kravitz said the FIA was mandating 10 days, so there simply should be no argument.

    1. @eurobrun I agree but Racing Point argue federal law as it was of the day of the negative test supersedes whatever the FIA says. It’s unclear as of now, I guess, if that’s true or not but I can see why they want Perez in there if they can from a perfomance standpoint.

      They should just keep Hulk and Perez and kick the Troll out instead anyway, if you ask me.

    2. I agree, the FIA said the minimum stand down period was 10 days, so it should be at least 10 days. If the UK mandate 7 then Sergio shouldn’t race until the 10 days has expired. If the UK had mandated 14 days then that would be how long Sergio couldn’t race for.
      Of course, I’m assuming that Sergio is tested and found to be no longer infected prior to resuming his racing duties.

      1. @drycrust the indication is that the FIA has adopted 10 days because that is what the UK government has now changed their recommendations to – in other words, the approach they are adopting for now is to follow the procedures that the host country has set out as the requirement for self-isolation.

        The confusion seems to be arising from a question of how to interpret those guidelines, because it is not completely clear from the guidance from Public Health England as to whether those rules apply retroactively or just to new cases.

        1. There is a reason for the addition of those three days.
          So it does not matter when the test is done, 10 days from the moment your tests are negative (as in, no virus detected).
          Only then starts the 10 days.
          So daily tests are necessary.
          It’s not that Corona leaves you after 10 days. That all depends of the way the desease develops.

        2. 10 days after a positive test. It’s clear as day on the NHS website and it is the law. Perez can’t break the law in the UK.

          1. Self-isolate for at least 10 days
            You should self-isolate for at least 10 days if:

            you have symptoms of coronavirus and you tested positive, had an unclear result or did not have a test
            you tested positive but have not had symptoms
            If you have symptoms, the 10 days starts from when they started.

            If you have not had symptoms, the 10 days starts from when you had the test. But if you get symptoms while you’re self-isolating, the 10 days restarts from when your symptoms started.

            Stop self-isolating after 10 days if you feel OK
            You can stop self-isolating after 10 days if either:

            you do not have any symptoms
            you just have a cough or changes to your sense of smell or taste – these can last for weeks after the infection has gone

  4. Even 10 days sounds low!

  5. The cynic in me thinks they dont really want anyone racing in the other car. What happened on Sunday seemed very strange to me, the reasoning behind the car not firing up, the lack of urgency behind everyone in the garage. They already have a hard job as it is trying to pick the driver line up for next year, I am sure they dont want Hulkenberg coming in and showing up Lance. Considering the car he had underneath him last weekend, Lance did nothing but go backwards during the race, he was an embarrassment. Unfortunately for Sergio, his daft actions has made it slightly easier for the team to justify dropping him at the end of the year (rather than dropping Lance, which is what should be done if Lawrence really wants Aston Martin to be taken seriously and become a big player in F1 over the coming years) but if Nico parachutes in and shows up Lance pretty much straight away then it complicates the matter even more. The fist bump with Sebastian in the pit lane last weekend was very telling too. I don’t have an issue with nepotism, as it is very common place throughout the world in all sectors, but when it makes your business look foolish, maybe its time to have a family heart to heart conversation

    1. > lack of urgency

      They were fined by the fia for working past the curfew. Why do you think there was no urgency?

    2. Honestly it’s not cynisme, it’s more fantasy :-). There are absolutely no reason for the team to self inflict such elements. And more than ever if the team wants to keep Stroll on board, they need the other car to perform. Now, when it comes to Lance… I don’t have a high opinion of him, but to be fair, he’s been quite decent since the beginning of the year. He was a close match to Perez if not ahead of him. Also, I have a feeling that the pink merc is very fast on one lap, maybe not so much in race condition. Or at least they still have to work on that part. Even Perez who is very consistant and excellent to manage tires has been going backwards during the races.

    3. Gubstar, were you expecting people to be rushing around madly in an environment where it is necessary to maintain careful social distancing between different members of staff?

      What might look like a “lack of urgency” to you is probably more because they are trying to methodically rule out different potential causes of failure. If you watched the way that Red Bull repaired Verstappen’s car on the grid in Hungary, they were not frantically running around and thrashing about like crazy – it looks fairly sedate, and they were just calmly and methodically putting the car back together so as to avoid causing more damage by a rushed frantic repair.

      I’m not really buying your argument that they wanted Hulkenberg to fail either, because it doesn’t really serve anyone’s interests for the team to throw away a potential points scoring opportunity when they are in a tight fight for potentially as high as 3rd in the WCC.

      Additionally, given that everyone was complimenting Hulkenberg on his performances in practice and qualifying, it’s not really “saving Stroll’s reputation” – most people will have already made their decision on their respective attributes long ago, and I doubt this single race would have done anything to radically change anyone’s opinions on either driver.

      Hulkenberg didn’t even have to beat Stroll that weekend – he just had to be close enough on pace for people to go “given he’s been out of the sport, he’s doing a good job”, which is just what he did. Hulkenberg had already won the comparison because he really can’t lose from it, so there’s no benefit to the team in sabotaging Hulkenberg in any way.

  6. At this point we need Ross Brawn to step in and rule him out on common sense grounds. It’s getting silly now.

  7. Just read the NHS website.

    “After you have a positive test but have not had symptoms, self-isolate for 10 days from when you had the test.”

    Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.

    Obey the law. Covidiots.

  8. He’s still likely going to test positive, it can take weeks for the virus to be eradicated by the body, he could well miss several more races yet, even if he’s asymptomatic.

    Having said that Covid testing is not very reliable, he could test negative this time as the previous test could have been false positive, I’ve read somewhere the accuracy of the test is only about 70% but maybe they’re using a different test?

    It’s a minefield!

    1. @davidjwest I don’t know about most other tests in the wild, but the test the FIA are using is a dual-method test that looks at the results of two different factors. If one of the results in positive, but the other negative, you get marked as ‘inconclusive’, have to temporarily self-isolate and then have to be tested again later. If the virus is developing in your body, then the previously negative test will likely come back positive when the second test is carried out. This is what happened to Perez.

      Funnily enough, I believe the delay for Nico to take part in FP1 was because his first test (done at short notice) also came back inconclusive, so he couldn’t do anything until he provided a later negative test.

      1. I think at the process of officially declaring someone healed the re-testing after 2 nonequal test results can occur more often than 7 days, or something like that especially if the person looks healthy or asymptomatic.
        These tests for most diseases are often not completely accurate, or even quite inaccurate.
        This inaccuracy is acceptable at many tests because: if we consider a rare disease what is only developed in for example 0.1% or 0.01% of the population (there are such rare and still feared ones) then having a test what is 80% accuracy means that even if someone initially tested positive, is often not sick, and as it’s a very rare disease they used to re-test or use another kind of more accurate test to get a confirmation. This way the initial test can be cheaper, and even more inaccurate, at a well functioning healthcare system it should not matter too much.
        And the accuracy usually is not a single value, just a simplification, probability of having false negative, or false positive result is usually different.
        Although I can’t really imagine if a test’s accuracy is below 50% then why such tests used. To find trouble? I’m from Hungary, and according to news one kind of tests our government managed to buy in huge amounts has 30% accuracy.

    2. @davidjwest this is true. I believed he’ll be test positive at least for six weeks.

      1. I’ve been reading up on this and it can be six weeks but that’s generally if you have severe symptoms. I don’t think Perez will get that bad as he is likely to be fit and healthy with no known underlying health conditions (I stress *known*)

        Having said that he is asymptomatic at the moment as it typically takes a week or two for symptoms to present.

        I do think he’s likely to miss all of the races in August though.

  9. Just give Hulk an actual race please x

  10. Let’s face it, that podium is never gonna come for hulk. The gods are against it.

  11. There is a rumour that it was management’s decision to stop Hulkenberg from racing on Sunday – he was useful in collecting data on Friday and Saturday runs but since the team has a limited budget and the numberof aero parts, they didn’t want to risk anything on the raceday with a driver who, unlike the other two, doesn’t bring the big bucks and would limit the possibilities of the team’s driving sponsors in case of any contact. Some former drivers voiced their opinion that the failure which has been detected on Hulk’s car (just some loose screw) is simply impossible given the team’s preparation and constant technical check-ups of the car during the weekend.

  12. Hope Hulk gets another go, poor chap didn’t even take the start last week.

  13. Funny how Perez tests positive for the deadliest plague the media has ever seen, and the story isn’t about him possibly dying, the story is when will he test negative. In 2 days or 4 days so he can jump into a race car.

    1. Ehhh? Hope you are being sarcastic.

      This ‘plague’ doesn’t even show symptoms in 80% of people and of those it does have a very mild cold or fever for a couple of days. This ‘plague’ has a death rate of 0.03% with the overwhelming majority being the old and already ill – the common flu would most likely have killed them too. Super fit guys like Perez probably won’t even notice a thing.

      1. Yes, I was being sarcastic. We’ve shut down commerce like never before based on the statistics you’ve mentioned and everyone is supposedly on board with that based on the horrific dangers posed by the plague. But judging by the ho-hum reaction to Perez’s positive test, maybe people actually do understand your stats.

        1. Mortality rate is under 1% across the population as a whole and for young and healthy people it’s under 0.1% It’s as high as over 30% for some groups, especially elderly with health conditions.

          The reason we’ve had lockdowns is to stop medical facilities being overwhelmed, that would lead to much higher mortality rates and general panic.

          1% of the global population is ~75M people.

          There are other issues, the more the virus spreads, the more chance of it mutating into something worse. There’s also the possibility that if you get Covid, the immunity (if there is any) might only last a short time and a second infection may have a higher mortality rate due to damage it may have done the first time. This is not yet understood and probably wont be for some time.

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