Earlier on Thursday Aston Martin announced that Sebastian Vettel had been ruled out of this weekend’s season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix after returning a positive COVID-19 test. 

The four-time world champion is the second F1 driver to have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week, with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo forced to miss the final day of pre-season testing in Bahrain after he tested positive. 

But with F1 easing many of the COVID restrictions in the paddock for this year, Perez reckons the time has come to consider a change of approach for drivers who test positive. 

“Going forward it's something that we should discuss, whether we allow the drivers to race with COVID, if the symptoms are mild," Perez was quoted as saying by ESPN

“These days if you're feeling bad, obviously the drivers can be the judge, but I think it makes sense to have a discussion.

“There's so much we've learned with COVID now and there is only so much you can do.

"If you want to look after yourself [completely], you have to stay at home for 24 hours and cook for yourself and do everything on your own.

"But there is only so much you can do, so I think it's just luck dependent. It is difficult to not do anything. I'm just very sorry for Seb and for Daniel, but it can happen to anyone.”

The Red Bull driver, who continues to test regularly, added: “You have to look after the people around you and to make sure that don't you don't affect anyone around you.”

Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz admitted he is finding it difficult to remain disciplined and hopes to get back to normality as soon as possible. 

“I’m not going to lie, it is tiring and it is tough for two years to still do the same things,” he explained. “Some things I got used to it, some things I still struggle with, like to wear the mask at all times. 

“I just hope we can get back to normality as soon as possible because I also, it might be a bit controversial, but I think that we need to kind of move on a bit and get on with life. 

“It’s unfortunate for the other drivers and it could be me at some point, but it’s really tough to stay as disciplined as we’ve always been. 

“Obviously if I have the chance to fight for bigger things this year, I will need to be but I am in two minds. At the same time I want everyone to move on and to stop thinking about COVID. I’m in two minds, I’m 50-50.” 

But his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc urged that caution is still required. 

“As much as things are slowly getting back to normality, they are still cautions that we need to take,” he said. 

“We need to be cautious between drivers and all of these things because COVID has not disappeared from one day to the other. And if you have COVID, you cannot race, so it’s very costly. So we still need to be very careful.”