SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — Nico Hulkenberg will return to Formula One this weekend to replace Sergio Perez after the Racing Point driver tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the British Grand Prix on Sunday.
The 32-year-old Hulkenberg lost his seat at Renault for this season so was available to step in when Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer made the call.
“I was on my way to the Nürburgring for another racing project when the call from Otmar came,” Hulkenberg said Friday. “That was less than 24 hours ago, so it feels a bit surreal for me right now, but I like a good challenge and this is certainly one.
“It’s obviously a difficult situation for Racing Point and Checo. He’s a buddy of mine, an old teammate and I wish him a speedy recovery. I’ll step in and try do the best I can for the team."
It will be Hulkenberg's 178th Grand Prix.
Perez believes he picked up the virus on a trip home to Mexico between the Hungarian and British races to visit his mother after she had an accident. He tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.
“Having to find a replacement for Sergio at short notice is no easy task," Szafnauer said, "but in Nico we’ve got a fantastic supersub who the team knows very well. He’s certainly being thrown in at the deep end, but he’s a fast learner and I’m sure he will get up to speed quickly.”
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