Sebastian Vettel will miss the opening race of the 2022 Formula One World Championship after the Aston Martin driver was ruled out of the Bahrain Grand Prix following a positive test for COVID-19.
The four-time world champion will be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg for the first event of the season, marking his first F1® race since 2020 and coincidentally taking place at the same venue where he made his debut with Williams in 2010.
Vettel, who headed up Aston Martin's return to F1® last year, secured a second-place podium finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in his maiden season with the team.
But the former Red Bull driver, who dominated the drivers' championship across a four-year stretch between 2010 and 2013, struggled to maintain that form across the rest of the campaign.
Hulkenberg will race alongside Lance Stroll this weekend and will take control of the car from FP1 on Friday.
Elsewhere, McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo will be fit to feature after missing the last week of testing through coronavirus.
The Australian, however, has since returned a negative test and will feature for the team this weekend at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.
UPDATE: Sebastian Vettel has tested positive for COVID-19 and will therefore not be taking part in the 2022 #BahrainGP.— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) March 17, 2022
Replacing him in the AMR22 will be Reserve Driver @HulkHulkenberg, who will be in the car from FP1 onwards. #F1 pic.twitter.com/36wnI8LUAC