Nikita Mazepin to miss Abu Dhabi GP after testing positive for COVID

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- Haas driver Nikita Mazepin will miss the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi after testing positive for COVID-19.

Mazepin, who was due to start from last place on the grid, is asymptomatic but the timing of the positive test result means he will not take part in Sunday's season finale.

It will not be possible for Haas to replace him as F1's rules state that any driver taking part in the race must have driven in at least one practice session.

Haas confirmed the news on Sunday morning and said it had taken the appropriate action to isolate anyone who was deemed a close contact to Mazepin.

"Uralkali Haas F1 Team driver Nikita Mazepin has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Yas Marina Circuit ahead of Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix," a statement said. "The team therefore regrets to announce that Nikita will be unable to participate in the race.

"Nikita is physically well, having been asymptomatic, but he will now self-isolate and adhere to the guidelines of the relevant public health authorities, with safety the ultimate priority for all parties concerned.

"Uralkali Haas F1 Team wish Nikita well and we look forward to his return to the race track in early 2022 for pre-season testing."

The news means Mazepin will finish his first season in Formula One in 21st place in the standings behind all regular drivers and Robert Kubica, who substituted for Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo earlier this year.