Kimi Räikkönen tested positive for Covid-19 and is out of the sequence of the Formula 1 Netherlands GP. Alfa Romeo announced the information this Saturday morning (4). According to the Italian-Swiss team, the ‘Ice Man’ has no symptoms and is doing well. Robert Kubica, Alfa Romeo’s immediate reserve, will replace the 41-year-old Finn at Zandvoort.
Räikkönen, who this week announced that the 2021 season will mark his farewell to F1, is the fourth driver to miss a World Cup team for testing positive for Covid-19. Last year, Sergio Pérez and Lance Stroll were infected with the new coronavirus. The Mexican defrauded Racing Point, now Alfa Romeo, in the GPs of England and of the 70 Years of F1, while Stroll did not race in the GP of Eifel, in Nürburgring, being replaced by Nico Hülkenberg. At the end of the year, Lewis Hamilton also tested positive for Covid-19 and was replaced at Mercedes by George Russell.
Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris also tested positive for Covid-19, but in a period without races in Formula 1 and did not face major consequences.
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In a weekend that started well for Alfa Romeo, with Antonio Giovinazzi taking a top-10 spot in Friday’s two free practices, Kimi was 13th in the morning session at Zandvoort and 16th in the second practice.
The team led by Frédéric Vasseur also reported that Räikkönen “immediately went into isolation in the hotel”. In a customary gesture, Alfa Romeo wished the driver a quick recovery. However, as the next Formula 1 race takes place on the following weekend with the Italian GP, in Monza, the veteran’s presence is already in doubt.
Kubica, 36, has not raced for the Formula 1 World Championship since the 2019 Abu Dhabi GP, a race that marked his farewell to Williams. The following year, the Pole signed with Alfa Romeo as a reserve driver, bringing the team’s main sponsor, Polish oil company PKN Orlen.
Kubica’s final race had a frustrating outcome for the veteran. The pilot competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the WRT team in the LMP2 class and saw the crew, also formed by Yfei Ye and Louis Delétraz, lose the victory after facing problems while leading on the final lap.
Alfa Romeo’s other reserve, Callum Ilott, linked to the Ferrari Drivers Academy, tested during the week in Indianapolis in preparation for his Indy debut at the Portland GP. Over the weekend, however, the Brit, who last year’s Formula 2 runner-up, is at the Nürburgring to compete in the three-hour race for the Italian team Iron Lynx alongside Alessio Rovera and Antonio Fuoco.
Formula 1 picks up speed again this Saturday in Zandvoort for a very busy day. At 7am (Brasilia, GMT-3), the circuit will stage free practice 3, while the classification takes place at 10am. O BIG PRIZE follows everything LIVE and in REAL TIME.