ZANDVOORT, Netherlands — Robert Kubica will race for Alfa Romeo in place of Kimi Raikkonen at the Dutch Grand Prix after the 2007 world champion tested positive for COVID-19.
Alfa Romeo confirmed Raikkonen is isolating in his hotel room and showing no symptoms. The team says it has worked with F1 and the FIA to identify close contacts and does not expect any further ramifications ahead of the weekend.
Williams boss Jost Capito is also isolating having had dinner with Raikkonen on Friday evening. Williams has confirmed Capito will remain away from the Zandvoort paddock for the rest of the Dutch Grand Prix as a precaution, although he returned a negative test result after Raikkonen’s.
Raikkonen’s positive test comes just days after the Finn confirmed he will retire from F1 at the end of the current season. Raikkonen has started more races than any driver in F1 history.
Kubica, Alfa’s reserve driver, will step in. The Polish driver will get one hour of practice before qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
It gives Kubica an unexpected chance to race in F1 again. The Polish driver was once considered one of F1’s most promising talents but partially severed his right arm in a rally crash in early 2011.
Kubica’s injury actually opened the door for Raikkonen to return from a two-year sabbatical with Lotus in 2012, as Kubica was unable to return to F1 until making a comeback with Williams in 2019.
His last race appearance was the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Alfa Romeo’s other reserve driver, Callum Illott, was unable to step in because he is in America testing for IndyCar team Juncos.
On Friday morning, Illott tweeted: “Well… that’s just my luck. Wasn’t scheduled to be there unfortunately.”