Doubt has been cast on whether Sergio Perez will sit out one or two of the Silverstone races after testing positive for Covid-19.
GPFans has learned that Racing Point driver Perez's initial test that drew an inconclusive result and led to him being denied entry to the paddock on Thursday, and in turn missing the FIA drivers' press conference, was conducted on Wednesday.
Following the result of that test, Perez was re-tested on Thursday, with Formula 1 and the FIA confirming at 8pm the Mexican was positive and would miss this weekend's British Grand Prix, leading to Nico Hülkenburg stepping in as replacement.
The confusion lies in the fact that on Wednesday UK government guidance was for a seven-day quarantine period for any individual testing positive, that then became a 10-day order from Thursday.
GPFans understands that as the positive test was on Thursday, Perez should therefore be in isolation for the required 10-day period, which would rule him out of next weekend's 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Attempting to explain the situation, team principal Otmar Szafnauer said: "If it's certain that he's out for two then Nico will drive in both races."
Szafnauer then stated that Perez tested positive on Wednesday, which is now known to be incorrect.
He added: "If it's 10 then Nico will drive both races. If it's seven days, that's only one of the hurdles, the other one is he [Perez] has got to have negative tests as well, so if the virus is still in his system and he tests positive, then Nico, again, will be driving in the second Silverstone race."
Szafnauer has confirmed that Perez's PA and physio travelled with him on a private plane to Mexico, where he visited his mother who had been involved in an accident, and that both had recorded negative test results.
Similarly, Perez was also recently involved in a simulator session with three members of the Racing Point team, but the driver and personnel were in different rooms, while the latter trio also wore PPE. They have also tested negative.
Szafnauer has stated that Perez did not contravene any rules or contractual obligation by heading home.
"We've no clauses in the contract where he has to ask for permission to go back to his family," said Szafnauer. "It's not a surprise he went back to Mexico. That's what he has done forever while he has been driving for us.
"We did, though, discuss how he was flying there and back, and it was always by a private flight, never commercially. There's no issue with that."
While professing hindsight to be a wonderful thing, Szafnauer added: "Our philosophy is we take all precautions necessary in light of where we're travelling, and if we do take those precautions I'm confident we won't get the virus.
"We need to now forensically look back and ascertain how Checo became infected and make sure we cover that off in the future."
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