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Infected drivers, team withdrawals won’t stop F1

Mat Coch

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Wednesday 3rd June, 2020 - 8:52am

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F1 events will not be cancelled if there is a positive COVID-19 case

Formula 1 events will not be cancelled even if a team or driver withdraws as a result of a positive test for COVID-19.

The Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix was cancelled just hours before opening practice was set to begin after McLaren withdrew from the event.

That decision was in response to a positive test for COVID-19 for one of its staff, prompting a number of others into self-isolation.

Without the personnel it needed to operate, McLaren was forced out of the event.

It was a decision which played a key part in its cancellation.

An eight-event initial calendar was yesterday released with Austria effectively taking Australia’s place as the season opener.

Going forward, F1 boss Chase Carey has said that events will continue even if there are similar circumstances that led to the cancellation of the Australian race.

“An individual having been found with a positive infection will not lead to a cancellation of a race,” Carey told Formula1.com.

“We encourage teams to have procedures in place so if an individual has to be put in quarantine, we have the ability to quarantine them at a hotel and to replace that individual.

“Some things we’d have to talk through and work through.

“The array of ‘what ifs’ are too wide to play out every one of them, but a team not being able to race wouldn’t cancel the race.

“I don’t think I could sit here and lay out the consequences.

“But we will have a procedure in place that finding infection will not lead to a cancellation.

“If a driver has an infection, (teams have) reserve drivers available.

“We wouldn’t be going forward if we were not highly confident we have necessary procedures and expertise and capabilities to provide a safe environment and manage whatever issues arrive.”

A detailed document outlining how F1 events will operate has been prepared ahead of the season getting underway.

That includes details on how teams can travel to and from the event, their stay in hotels, and more.

“We will test before you go there, then there will be testing every two days,” Carey explained.

“There are processes if we find an infection.

“We recognise there is the possibility so we’re prepared to appropriately deal with it, if we find a positive infection.

“We’re working on putting in place tracking capabilities, we have two different tracking options.

“In many ways, it will be like living in a bubble from when you start travelling on charter planes.

“There will be controlled transportation to hotels, transportation back and forth to the track from hotels.

“And probably within it, sub bubbles of people who operate different functions and it is set up to manage the processes, make sure we have the right protective equipment and social distancing.

“Clearly we recognise our sport is one which at times, we can’t have two metres between every individual on a team,” he added.

“When a car pulls into a pit and has to change four tyres, there won’t be two metres between every individual.

“We need to make sure we have procedures to manage all those risks as soon as possible.”

The 2020 Formula 1 season will get underway at the Red Bull Ring on July 3-5.

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