F1 News: F1 will not stop races for positive coronavirus cases, says Carey

Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey says teams pulling out because of ill personnel, or even a driver getting infected with coronavirus, will not stop races from going ahead when the season resumes

F1 News: F1 will not stop races for positive coronavirus cases, says Carey

F1 has announced its plan for the 2020 season to get underway at the Austrian Grand Prix on 5 July, with an eight-event schedule for the European phase of the season having been announced.

The category's chiefs have put together a 90-page dossier of guidelines to ensure that travelling personnel remain safe from the risks of coronavirus when the 2020 season begins.

Learning lessons from the last-minute cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix after a McLaren team member tested positive, F1 has worked to ensure that every eventuality is covered.

Speaking to the official F1 website, Carey was clear that procedures were now in place so even if a driver got ill, or a team pulled out like McLaren did in Australia, that would not force the event to be stopped.

"An individual having been found with a positive infection will not lead to a cancellation of a race," he said.

"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."

Carey also revealed the level of details that F1 and the FIA, had gone in to in order to get things in place.

"Certainly the FIA deserves an enormous amount of credit in this process," he said.

"In many ways they've led in this process in terms of health and safety issues. We have engaged with a range of outside experts.

"There is a rigorous set of guidelines, probably at this point it's 80-90 pages, which will include everything from how do you travel there, what are the processes for being in hotels there to what are the processes that exist at the track, for meals, going to the restroom, downtime between tracks and testing processes.

"We will test before you go there, then there will be testing every two days. 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."

F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn has already raised the possibility of operating in a 'biosphere' at races to ensure personnel are isolated from the local community.

Carey was clear that everything was being done to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.

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

"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.

"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."

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Author Jonathan Noble
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