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Sebastian Vettel to miss opening race of new F1 season as Aston Martin name replacement

Aston Martin have been dealt a huge blow ahead of the start of the 2022 season with experienced driver Sebastian Vettel ruled out of the opening Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend

Sebastian Vettel will be missing from the Bahrain Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel will be missing from the Bahrain Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel has been ruled out of the opening race of the 2022 F1 season after testing positive for Covid, in what is a huge blow for Aston Martin.

After two rounds of pre-season testing in Barcelona and Bahrain, Vettel was finally poised to get his 2022 campaign underway in the Middle East. However, Aston Martin confirmed the positive Covid test on Thursday, just one day before Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying gets underway.

Aston Martin immediately named their replacement for the illustrious German driver, as they look to get off to a strong start in 2022. And it comes in the shape of another experienced driver, who. has been out of F1 since 2020.

The constructors’ announcement on Thursday read: “Sebastian Vettel has tested positive for Covid-19 and will not therefore be taking part in the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix. Replacing him in the AMR22 will be Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg, who will be in the car from FP1 onwards.”

Vettel has become the second F1 driver to contract the virus within the last week. It comes following Daniel Ricciardo, of McLaren, testing positive – who was forced to miss the entirety of the final test in Bahrain.

However, the charismatic Australian will be back in action for the opening round of F1. And he will be desperate to continue McLaren’s recent impressive run of form, having helped them to fourth in the constructors’ standings last term.

Aston Martin’s reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg will replace Vettel in Bahrain


XPB Images/PA Images)

Meanwhile, Hulkenberg – Aston Martin’s reserve driver – last competed in Formula 1 back in 2020. He has featured three times since as replacements for Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, who both missed races due to Covid.

F1’s chiefs have made it compulsory this season for all drivers and team personnel to be vaccinated this year.

The opening race of the season gets underway on Sunday, with practice starting on Friday and qualifying as usual on Saturday in Bahrain.

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