The Racing Point Formula 1 team has Nico Hulkenberg on standby in case Lance Stroll is unable to race at this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

Stroll was forced to miss the Eifel Grand Prix due to illness, a scenario which led Hulkenberg to make his third appearance of the season for Racing Point, having previously stood in for Sergio Perez at Silverstone when the Mexican was ruled out with a positive COVID-19 test.

To avoid a repeat of Hulkenberg having to complete another short-notice journey to fill in as a last-minute substitute, the German will be present at the Algarve circuit in Portimao this weekend in case his services are required.

"Yes, Nico is here," team principal Otmar Szafnauer confirmed on Thursday.

“And I think other teams have also opted to bring reserve drivers for the first time. I think it just it just makes sense to have reserve drivers.”

Stroll is set to return to action in Portugal after revealing he had tested positive for coronavirus after the Nurburgring race.

The Canadian withdrew from the Eifel Grand Prix weekend after his condition worsened on Saturday before he flew home to Switzerland and took his test on Sunday evening which returned a positive result.

Stroll has since tested negative but will need to provide a further negative test before he can enter the paddock.

"He had a negative test coming into this weekend,” Szafnauer explained. “The probability of now getting a positive is low. Is it zero?

"I don't know that much about it, but it's low, you know. Nico is here as a precaution and I'm confident Lance will be in the car this weekend."

Despite not being together and having not attended a race since the Tuscan Grand Prix at Mugello, it emerged that Lance’s father and Racing Point team owner, Lawrence Stroll, also contracted COVID-19.

 

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