Raikkonen positive for Covid-19, Kubica to stand in
Raikkonen announced this week that he was retiring at the end of the season, 20 years after his Formula One debut
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen has tested positive for Covid-19 at the Dutch Grand Prix and will be replaced by Polish reserve driver Robert Kubica, the Formula One team said on Saturday.
Kubica, who last raced in Formula One at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2019 with Williams, joined the Swiss-based team in 2020 and has been attending most races.
“Kimi is displaying no symptoms and is in good spirits. He has immediately entered isolation in his hotel. The team wishes Kimi a speedy recovery,” Alfa Romeo said in a statement.
Raikkonen’s participation at next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the fastest track on the calendar and a home race for Alfa, is also in doubt as the Finn cannot return to the paddock until he receives a negative test.
“First we check on Monday,” team boss Frederic Vasseur told Sky Sports television. “And we check with the local authorities in Italy but we are staying focused on this weekend first and then we’ll see for Monza what we can do.”
Raikkonen announced this week that he was retiring at the end of the season, 20 years after his Formula One debut.
At 41, the “Iceman” is the oldest driver on the starting grid and the 2007 world champion with Ferrari holds the all-time record for most race starts, at 341.
Kubica, 36, had stints with BMW Sauber and Renault from 2006 to 2010 and returned to the Formula One grid in 2019 after a near-fatal rally crash in 2011.
Sunday’s race at Zandvoort is the first Dutch Grand Prix in 36 years and a new challenge for all on the F1 grid, with practice punctuated by red flags on Friday and overtaking expected to be difficult.
“Robert did already some test days with the car, he did some FP1s (first Friday practice sessions). I think he’s ready,” said Vasseur.
“It’s probably not the easiest track to jump in on ... but it is like it is and we’ll have to do the best job that we can.”
Alfa Romeo are ninth in the 10-team standings, 17 points behind Williams and three clear of bottom team Haas.
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