German motorsport driver Nico Hulkenberg will continue to race for Aston Martin at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah. The team confirmed the news on Friday, as the four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel failed to recover from COVID-19 in time for the race.
The Aston Martin Twitter posted that Hulkenberg will continue in his place, stating that “despite lack of mileage in the AMR22, Nico coped well in Bahrain and we are sure he will do likewise in Jeddah.
The team also confirmed on 24 March that Vettel is continuing isolating at his home in Switzerland as he has not tested negative but the decision on his participation was postponed till 25 March morning, hoping he would do possibly test negative and travel.
Aston Martin also stated that they anticipate Vettel to return for the third race of the season in Australia in two weeks’ time. They have also stressed that Hulkenberg will be part of the full weekend in Jeddah even though there is an outside chance for Vettel’s return to action on Saturday.
Hulkenberg was also Vettel’s replacement in the opening race of the 2022 Formula 1 season in Bahrain. The 34-year-old finished 17th at the Bahrain International Circuit but out-qualified his teammate Lance Stroll with a lap of 1:32.777.
The German finished last in the race but ended up at 17th place with both Red Bull cars and Piere Gasly’s Alpha Tauri failing to finish. After the race he said, “We don’t know yet [if Vettel will race]. I think it’s a matter of waiting a couple of days, seeing how Seb is. If he’s fit to race or not, I’ll be in the area anyway, to be ready and on standby,” said Hulkenberg.