Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, backup drivers are more important than ever this year. Formula 1 has already indicated before the season that no races will be canceled if someone is found to be infected with the virus. Last weekend, the motorsport body took action. Before the British Grand Prix, Racing Point driver Sergio Perez was found to be infected with the corona virus. Perez was then immediately quarantined, while his team looked for a driver to replace him. In the end, the race just went on, although his replacement Nico Hulkenberg was unable to start due to a technical failure.
Last weekend it became clear how important it is to have a reserve driver ready at all times, yet most teams had not yet arranged this properly. Mercedes has agreed with McLaren and Racing Point to use their reserve drivers in an emergency. However, these could not be used last weekend, but at the same time no replacement had been prepared. That is why McLaren has now taken measures itself. “As we confirmed earlier, we have an appointment with Mercedes so we can use their reserve drivers if Carlos or Lando can’t race,” McLaren said.
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“With Stoffel Vandoorne unavailable due to his Formula E commitments and Esteban Gutierrez currently not eligible for a super license, Paul di Resta will be our reserve driver this weekend. Paul performed a seat fit at the MTC this morning in accordance with the FIA COVID-19 protocols, but will not get in touch with the McLaren Race team unless necessary. ” Paul di Resta is present on the circuit anyway because of his work for Sky Sports and will continue to run it.