4-time Formula One World Champion and current Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel could not participate in the 2022 season opener. The German driver tested positive ahead of the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix and was quarantined in his home in Switzerland.
Fellow German driver Nico Hulkenberg was parachuted in to substitute Vettel. Hulkenberg arrived right before the Free Practice 1 session on 17th March and went straight into full race mode. And despite the unfamiliar race conditions and new regulations, he managed to impress many leading up to the race.
Nico might have to step in for another race after Vettel’s positive Covid test deeming him ineligible to participate in the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The 34-year old has been asked to join the team on their trip to the Jeddah Corniche circuit ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Nico Hulkenberg to replace Sebastian Vettel
Nico Hulkenberg currently serves as the reserve driver in Formula One for Aston Martin F1 Team. The German started the Bahrain Grand Prix in place of Sebastian Vettel and qualified P17 for the race ahead of teammate Lance Stroll. Hulkenberg finished the race in the same position. He is asked to stay back and on-call in case Vettel’s test results are still positive 24 hours before FP1 in Jeddah.
“We don’t know yet [if Vettel will race]. I think it’s a matter of waiting a couple of days, seeing how Seb is. If he’s fit to race or not, I’ll be in the area anyway, to be ready and on standby,” said Hulkenberg regarding his availability to sub for Vettel.
Vettel tested positive after the Pre-season Testing in Bahrain. The current rules state that any driver who tests positive for the virus must sit out for the upcoming race and self isolate until a negative test result is produced. Aston Martin has given Vettel until Friday to return a negative test in order to participate in the race.