Sebastian Vettel has been declared "fit to race" after missing the first two grands prix of the season due to COVID-19, Aston Martin said on Thursday.

It means the four-time champion can head to Melbourne for next week's Australian Grand Prix and look to put points on the board for the struggling team.

Aston Martin have failed to score in the opening races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, with Nico Hulkenberg stepping in as Vettel's replacement.

Hulkenberg will step aside to allow Vettel to partner Lance Stroll for the April 8-10 race weekend.

Aston Martin said on Twitter: "We are pleased to confirm that Sebastian Vettel is now fit to race and will therefore line up alongside Lance Stroll in Melbourne to kick off his 2022 F1 season at the Australian Grand Prix."

The team are eager to get off the mark after their slow start, and Stroll said after the Saudi disappointment, where he finished 13th and Hulkenberg took 12th place: "There is still a long season ahead of us, so we will keep working hard to find more performance in the car for the coming races."

Vettel, 34, won his world titles consecutively from 2010 to 2013, and he joined Aston Martin ahead of the 2021 season.

Sebastian Vettel will miss this weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as he continues his COVID-19 recovery.

The Aston Martin team announced on Friday that Vettel would be replaced for a second successive race by Nico Hulkenberg.

He missed the team's deadline to show he was race fit, after it was disclosed on Thursday that Vettel had yet to test negative for the coronavirus.

Four-time world champion Vettel had been hoping for a significant upturn in his recent fortunes this season, but it has begun in disappointing fashion for the German.

He had to sit out last weekend's opener in Bahrain after testing positive, and now he will have to watch from afar again as racing goes ahead in Jeddah.

Reserve driver Hulkenberg finished 17th in Bahrain, with Lance Stroll 12th, as the Aston Martin team failed to finish in the points.

Aston Martin said in a Twitter statement on Friday: "@HulkHulkenberg will practice, qualify and race alongside @lance_stroll. Despite lack of mileage in the #AMR22, Nico coped well in Bahrain and we are sure he will do likewise in Jeddah. We expect Sebastian Vettel to be fit for the #AustralianGP."

Vettel, 34, won his world titles consecutively from 2010 to 2013, and he joined Aston Martin ahead of the 2021 season.

The Australian Grand Prix weekend runs from April 8-10 in Melbourne.

Sebastian Vettel could be forced to sit out a second race after Aston Martin said he remained positive for COVID-19 and had not yet travelled to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion had been hoping for a significant upturn in his recent fortunes this season, but it has begun in disappointing fashion for the German.

He had to sit out last weekend's opener in Bahrain after testing positive for the coronavirus, and stand-in Nico Hulkenberg could be pressed into action again in Jeddah.

Vettel, 34, won his world titles consecutively from 2010 to 2013, and he joined Aston Martin ahead of the 2021 season.

Aston Martin said Vettel would be given until Friday to return a negative test, otherwise the team will plan without him for this weekend's racing.

The team said on Twitter: "Sebastian Vettel has not yet returned the required negative COVID test to fly to the #SaudiArabiaGP. Nico Hulkenberg will be in Jeddah to deputise for Seb if necessary. We will delay our final decision until Friday to provide Seb every opportunity to race."

Hulkenberg finished 17th in Bahrain, with Lance Stroll 12th, as Aston Martin failed to finish in the points.

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.

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