Stone wary of COVID implications on the road

The Matt Stone Racing entry of Zane Goddard

Matt Stone Racing will take a cautious approach to its time in New South Wales given the implications of a possible COVID-19 infection, says its eponymous team owner.

While restrictions are now easing in Sydney, Stone and his Queensland-based squad are preparing to live in a bubble-type arrangement while south of the border.

Sydney Motorsport Park will host four successive weekends of racing starting October 29-31 before the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship concludes at Mount Panorama on November 30 to December 5.

A chief cause for Stone’s conservatism is the fear of an extended absence from competition if his crew becomes exposed to the virus.

“We’re certainly taking it very seriously because there’s a lot of duty of care involved: we’re taking a large group of people into what is the COVID capital of Australia,” Stone said on the Parked Up podcast.

“So one, we don’t want to put our staff and our team in harm’s way… we’re essentially moving down there and going into our own little lockdown, which I guess is a bit ironic coming from unlocked Queensland, we’re going down to New South Wales and locking ourselves down when they all come out of it.

“But the other real factor to consider is with these races being so close together, if someone in pit lane, not necessarily our team, was to be unfortunate enough to contract COVID, there would be two weeks of quarantine plus however long they have the virus for.

“You could potentially miss the rest of the season, and if that person were to come into contact with our team and we all got put into isolation, we could miss rounds.

“So it’s very serious to the category, I feel; if COVID were to get into one of the teams, that team could be out for the rest of the year.

“So we’re certainly taking it very seriously and like I said, we’ll be operating in our own private bubble.”

MSR has been at the heart of the Supercars news cycle lately, with intrigue surrounding its 2022 driver line-up.

That comes following recent announcements relating to the departures of incumbents Jake Kostecki and Zane Goddard, the former signing for Tickford Racing and the latter simply confirming he’ll not return to MSR in 2022.

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