‘Only travel restrictions prevent F1 from racing anywhere’

Michelle Foster
Chase Carey has insisted there is no “magic number” maximum of races for a Formula 1 season – but that 23 represents a “full calendar”.

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Formula 1 could race anywhere in the world such are the sport’s stringent Covid-19 protocols, says the man in charge of those protocols Bruno Famin.

Formula 1 became the first international series to resume action when, back in July, the circus headed to Austria for a double header.

Since then 10 races have been run with Famin, the FIA’s director of operations in charge of the Covid protocols, confident the sport could arrive in any country and race safely.

“For me the only problem is the travel restrictions from the government,” he told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview.

“We have raced already in some countries or in some regions where the COVID situation was quite bad, and we managed it.

“I think the protocol and the people – because they are very professional – means that we have the evidence that the protocol works in all circumstances.

“The problem is the legal issue, the travel restrictions. If we have to quarantine or not, and if the local organiser has honoured the authorisation to build the event. That is the key point. It’s not the protocol itself.

“I think with the protocol we can race everywhere, anywhere. But it depends on the authorisation and the possibility to travel there.”

He added: “We always prepare four to six weeks before an event, having the first contact with the local organiser together with FOM.

“We have to organise the processes with the local authorities. We have to know how we’re going to work with the testing company, and a testing lab.

“We have all these high density, low density, red zone, yellow zone areas to manage. And to know where are the limits, who is allowed to go where, how do we do the temperature check.

“It is all these details, then on the layout, on the testing process. After, it’s the official process in case of a positive case, and we are managing it with the local organiser.”

Teams numbers are still down on last season, everyone in the paddock has to wear a mask and is tested regularly, there is no interaction with the general public and bubbles are being respected.

Despite the steps, though, Formula 1 has seen a rise in positive cases in recent weeks.

Red Bull’s Helmut Marko revealed that one of the Red Bull driver’s girlfriends recently tested positive.

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Famin added: “From the very beginning of the season after the Melbourne event, when we restarted in Austria, the challenge was not to avoid positive cases.

“It was of course to avoid as much as we can. But the main thing was to have processes, which enable us to keep racing, to keep doing the event, even having positive cases, without generating any outbreak within the paddock or within the local population. That was the challenge.

“Then having positive cases is just normal. The challenge is to be able to manage it, to identify the close contact, to isolate the close contact, to kill the beginning of possible outbreak without having more trouble. That’s really the challenge, for all the events where we are going.”

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