Lance Stroll: Racing Point driver to miss Eifel Grand Prix with illness

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix
Nico Hulkenberg (right, with Lance Stroll) drove for Racing Point at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in August

Racing Point say they are "confident" Lance Stroll does not have coronavirus despite being unwell enough to miss the Eifel Grand Prix.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer said Stroll has "flu-like symptoms", an upset stomach and was "just not well in himself and couldn't exercise".

He said Stroll had been tested "five times or so" in the past two weeks and they were "happy it's not Covid-19".

Szafnauer said that Stroll's last test for coronavirus was on Tuesday.

He said Stroll would be tested again when required to be so under F1's coronavirus protocols, which require tests every five days over the period of a competition.

The website of the US government's Centre for Disease Controlexternal-link lists fever, fatigue and diarrhoea as three of the possible symptoms of coronavirus.

Szafnauer added: "We're happy with the company we use that negatives are negatives."

He said the team were not testing Stroll again before the maximum time between tests because he had had some of the symptoms since returning from the Russian Grand Prix two weeks ago and had been tested several times since, all of the tests returning negative results.

"He just doesn't feel well in himself and last night he had a bit of an upset stomach so he was on the toilet the whole time," Szafnauer said.

"He said: 'I've got rid of a lot of fluid and I can't get off the toilet long enough to get in the race car.'

"I don't know if it's something he ate, or a tummy bug, or what, but he's just not feeling up to it.

"I talked to him and he said we're going to have a double-header coming up soon [with the Portuguese and Emilia Romagna grands prix on consecutive weekends] and he said: 'I'd just rather rest and get ready for that.'

"We have a doctor looking after him and when he's fit to leave he'll go home.

"[He has been] just not well in himself and couldn't exercise. That together with the tummy bug or whatever, he said: 'I just can't do it.'

"It was the race he wasn't looking forward to in the state he was in."

Stroll has been replaced by German Nico Hulkenberg, who has driven for the team previously this year when their other driver Sergio Perez contracted coronavirus in the summer and was forced to miss the British and 70th Anniversary grands prix at Silverstone.

Hulkenberg was only called by Szafnauer on Saturday morning and made it to the track with about an hour or so to spare before qualifying.

He will start 20th and last on the grid for Sunday's race.

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