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Thursday's Formula 1 news roundup: Lance Stroll, Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean

Here, Sports Mole rounds up the latest Formula 1 news on Thursday, October 22.

Sports Mole rounds up all of the latest news regarding Formula 1 on Thursday, October 22.

Thursday morning's Formula 1 news roundup:


French media say Haas exit for Grosjean 'confirmed'

Romain Grosjean pictured on February 19, 2020© Reuters

French media are now confirming reports that Romain Grosjean will leave Haas at the end of the 2020 season.

Citing 'a number of sources', the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet this week claimed that the country's Kevin Magnussen, and his French teammate Grosjean, have been told that their small American employer will be replacing them for 2021.

"The end of Romain Grosjean's collaboration with the American team was announced by Auto Hebdo and confirmed by RMC Sport," the latter French media source reported late on Wednesday.

Correspondent Lucas Vinois said Grosjean, 34, is linked with a move for 2021 to the all-electric series Formula E or the World Endurance Championship.

"He recently indicated that he is very interested in the Peugeot Hypercar project," he explained. "The (Peugeot) lion will be back in WEC from 2022."

Also set to lose his Formula 1 race seat for 2021 is the Mercedes-backed George Russell, who appears to have been priced out of the running at Williams.

Jean-Michel Desnoues, editor of France's Auto Hebdo, said of Williams' new owner: "Dorilton Capital probably doesn't want to embark on the Formula 1 adventure without the help of Michael Latifi, who is also the father of Nicholas Latifi."

Russell's seat looks set to be filled for 2021 by the strongly Mexican-backed Sergio Perez.

Desnoues continued: "It seems almost impossible that a boy (Russell) with so much potential in the sport will have to leave, but didn't we say the same about Esteban Ocon?"

Yet another potential 2021 refugee is Alex Albon, with Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko saying the British-born Thai driver's seat is only secure for the rest of 2020.

"Thanks to Max and the fact that Renault, McLaren and Racing Point are all taking points from one another, our second place in the championship is not in danger," he said.

"So we don't necessarily have to take action this year," Marko added.



Questions arise as Stroll admits covid infection

Racing Point's Lance Stroll pictured in July 2020© Reuters

Sections of the Formula 1 media have reacted with scepticism as it emerges that Lance Stroll and his team-owning father Lawrence recently tested positive for covid-19.

At the Nurburgring, where Lance Stroll sat out the race with a stomach ache, Racing Point repeatedly denied that the 21-year-old had contracted the notorious virus.

But he revealed on Twitter on Wednesday that he tested positive on Sunday morning - after returning home from Germany on a private plane while Nico Hulkenberg raced his car.

Stroll says he was in isolation for ten days and has now tested negative and is heading to Portugal.

In a separate statement, team boss Otmar Szafnauer confirmed the news and also revealed that Stroll "consulted with a doctor who did not believe his symptoms indicated covid-19 and did not advise a test was necessary".

"Based on this clinical assessment, at the time there was no requirement to inform the FIA as to the nature of the illness," Szafnauer added.

However, according to Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Tobias Gruner, the story has only raised questions.

"It is likely to cause criticism that the prominent patient flew home rather than staying in isolation until his illness was cleared up," he said.

Spain's El Mundo newspaper reports that the news has raised "a cloud of suspicion".

"Why did he return home without taking a test at the circuit?" the editorial wondered.

Bild newspaper in Germany also called the situation "puzzling".

"Why didn't Stroll do a corona test immediately on Saturday? His substitute Nico Hülkenberg was tested on Saturday morning and was ready for action an hour later with a negative result," the newspaper said.

"After the Eifel race, race director Michael Masi said Stroll had been tested again on Sunday morning, but there is not a word about that in Stroll's explanation.

"Why did the team consistently say during the race weekend that Stroll was not sick with corona, although obviously this could not be ruled out?" Bild added.

"The FIA must also provide information to refute the accusation that they wanted to have Racing Point at the start-line at the Nurburgring at all costs."

Meanwhile, Dr Helmut Marko has confirmed that amid the corona crisis, Red Bull has put Sebastien Buemi on duty as reserve driver in Portugal.


More news from Formula 1:

On This Day: Kimi Raikkonen wins Formula One world title
The Finn edged out Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in dramatic fashion. Read more.

Red Bull eyes own engine program until 2026
Red Bull would only be looking to run its own engine program until the current 'power unit' regulations end, according to Dr Helmut Marko. Read more.

Alex Wurz's son could join Ferrari academy
The son of former F1 driver and current Grand Prix Drivers' Association chairman Alex Wurz is now inching his way towards a future in Formula 1. Read more.

Lance Stroll, Lawrence Stroll tested positive for coronavirus after Eifel Grand Prix
Lance Stroll withdrew from the Eifel Grand Prix on October 11 after falling unwell. Read more.

Canadian driver Lance Stroll tested positive for coronavirus following Eifel Grand Prix
Lance Stroll is the second Formula One driver to have contracted the virus. Read more.

Romain Grosjean leaving Haas at the end of the season
The pair are leaving the team at the end of the current F1 season. Read more.

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Romain Grosjean pictured on February 19, 2020
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