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Aston Martin still waiting for Vettel to pass COVID test

Sebastian Vettel

Aston Martin remains in a holding pattern over whether Sebastian Vettel will compete in this weekend’s Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The German was absent from last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix after returning a positive COVID test.

His seat was filled by Nico Hulkenberg, who made his third COVID-related substitution in the last three seasons.

That could well become four as Aston Martin advised Vettel has still not yet returned a negative test result, with The Hulk having remained on stand by.

“Sebastian Vettel has not yet returned the required negative COVID test to fly to the #SaudiArabiaGP,” the team announced on social media.

“Nico Hulkenberg will be in Jeddah to deputise for Seb if necessary.

“We will delay our final decision until Friday to provide Seb every opportunity to race.”

Opening practice in Jeddah commences at 17:00 local time on Friday (0100 AEDT Saturday) with the second 60-minute session following two hours after the conclusion of the first.

It leaves little time for Vettel to return a negative result, and travel from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia – an approximately 2.5 flight.

Hulkenberg finished the opening race of the year in 17th, the last of the runners to see the flag (though both Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen were classified as they completed more than 90 percent of the race distance).

Team-mate Lance Stroll finished the 57-lap race in 12th place meaning Aston Martin heads to Round 2 of the championship as one of the five teams yet to score a point in 2022.

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