Sebastian Vettel has been ruled out of the 2022 season opener in Bahrain after testing positive for Covid-19.
The Aston Martin driver will be replaced by Nico Hülkenberg after Vettel became the second driver to be struck down with the virus ahead of the 2022 start.
Hülkenberg will take the reigns across the entire weekend, jumping behind the wheel from FP1 onwards, and has just days to warm to the new machinery.
A statement from Aston Martin released this morning confirmed: “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.”
The German driver last raced in Formula 1 back in 2020 and has started 179 Grands Prix since making his debut in 2010.
Covid-19 has been wreaking havoc in the paddock since its arrival in 2020 and has seen numerous teams scrambling to fill their seats in a matter of days over the past two seasons.
Daniel Ricciardo tested positive for the virus last week ahead of pre-season testing and as a result, missed out on the entire three-day stint.
He has been cleared to race after returning a number of negative Covid tests and will return to the paddock in Bahrain this weekend.