Bottas/Leclerc Monaco home visits were ‘allowed’

Jon Wilde
Valtteri Bottas Charles Leclerc home visits

Valtteri Bottas and Charles Leclerc have insisted they did not breach F1 health protocols by breaking out of their ‘bubble’ to go home this week.

Team members are required to stay in designated ‘bubbles’ to minimise health risks as a result of the global pandemic which caused the start of the season to be delayed by four months.

Rather than remaining in Spielberg between the Austrian Grand Prix and the Styrian Grand Prix, both at the Red Bull Ring, Bottas and Leclerc – who finished first and second respectively at the curtain-raiser – popped home independently to Monaco.

But neither will face a sanction having abided by the rules that have been put in place.

Bottas, whose opening victory for Mercedes means he leads the World Championship standings, said in quotes on “Obviously I found out if it’s allowed to go back and yes, it is.

“And of course it doesn’t really make a difference if I stay with the same people in the same bubble whether I’m here or back home in Monaco.

“So I decided to go back home as, in the end, we are in Europe and travelling is pretty short distance, so there’s no stress really from the travel.

“I just wanted to spend those three full days at home. I thought it was very nice to recharge for the weekend, so I think it was a good decision from my side. I just tend to do things that work for me, how I feel, what I want to do between the races.

“From a safety point of view there is no difference at all. Still the same people that I will be dealing with here.”

Leclerc, meanwhile, revealed he had taken extra tests for COVID-19 to show he had not passed on the virus during his travels.

The Ferrari driver said: “I was tested twice before coming back. So in two days, testing twice, both negative obviously. That’s it. I went back home for two days and then did two tests to be sure of the results.”

Leclerc’s movements were in contrast to those of his team-mate Sebastian Vettel, who chose to spend his downtime enjoying the picturesque Styrian scenery.

Vettel said: “I stayed in the bubble. I love the mountains, I love Austria, I love this place.

“For the first time in quite a while I had the opportunity to climb some of the mountains around that I’ve always seen from the car, so I did that on two days this week. So I enjoyed the time outside and went cycling as well.”

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