In light of Daniel Ricciardo’s positive coronavirus test, speculation has been brewing over who could be drafted in by McLaren to take his place should the Australian be unable to take part in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
Ricciardo fell ill on Wednesday night, precluding him from contesting the first day of testing, and it was then revealed on Friday morning that he had tested positive for Covid-19, ruling him out of all running in Bahrain.
Teammate Lando Norris therefore took the wheel throughout the three days for the Woking side, putting in 199 laps on his way to the ninth overall quickest lap time.
Ambiguity then surfaced as to whether the isolation period is seven or 14 days when someone tests positive in the country, but the general consensus is that the isolation period sits at one week, meaning Ricciardo will be able to content FP1 next week provided he has tested negative by then.
“According to government regulations, he will be out of isolation next week, on Thursday evening,” said team principal Andreas Seidl.
If he does not return a negative result, multiple names have been thrown in the ring as to whom might be taking his place, and Seid confirmed that Mercedes reserve and Mercedes EQ Formula E drivers Nyck De Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne will be in line to deputise for the 32-year-old should he be unable to compete.
“That’s where an agreement with Mercedes kicks in [and] either Nyck de Vries or Stoffel Vandoorne would sit in the car,” he confirmed.
Alpine reserve driver Oscar Piastri missed out on a drive in Formula 1 this season, but in a bid to give the Formula 2 champion some priceless experience, the Enstone-based team have confirmed that the 20-year-old will be permitted to race for McLaren if they require his services.
“In the spirit of offering maximum racing opportunities to our stable of young talent, we have agreed that McLaren may call upon BWT Alpine F1 Team Reserve Driver Oscar Piastri in the event one of their drivers is unable to race,” they stated.
There is no Formula E race this weekend, and de Vries has no prior commitments, but with Vandoorne contesting the 1000 miles of Sebring and McLaren’s deal with Mercedes likely having an influence, it would appear that the Dutchman – who was previously a member of the McLaren young driver programme – would take Ricciardo’s place if he is still unwell.