FIA: F1 won’t stop again for one positive case

Michelle Foster


Once the F1 season is underway it will go on as planned even if someone in the paddock tests positive, says the FIA’s medical commission.

Formula 1 is putting into place plans to begin the 2020 season in July in Europe.

The grands prix will be held behind closed doors, the media will not be invited and all team personnel will be tested every two days.

Should someone test positive, the show won’t be halted.

That is a very different scenario to what played out at what would have been the season-opening Australian GP.

That race was called off after McLaren withdrew when a team member tested positive.

“The situation has evolved from Australia,” Professor Gérard Saillant told L’Equipe.

“We have provided a rapid response device to confirm the diagnosis, isolate and test people who have been in contact with a positive case.

“For me, the grand prix would not be cancelled. It is as if you were telling me that the metro is closed because a traveller has been positively diagnosed there.”

Saillant did, however, state that Formula 1 would do everything possible to keep everyone in the paddock safe.

“We have to limit the risks,” he said.

“With a grand prix behind closed doors, there is no need for hospitality. Those present will be in a ventilated, unconfined space, and will have been selected.

“Within this ‘bubble’, we are working with the legal department to set up, on a voluntary basis, an app which would make it possible to know what contact was made, less than a metre away, with someone positive.”

He does acknowledge that what is required for Formula 1 to race in Austria may be different to other countries.

Formula 1 will adjust it rules to suit each government as the season progresses.

“What will happen in Austria may be different from what will happen in Germany or Hungary,” he said.

“Each country has different regulations, and the situation of the circuit, of the hotels, will also influence this confinement rule. If the track is in the countryside, things are different than if it is in a city.

“Singapore or Vietnam would have a completely different medical organisation if they had a grand prix to organise now. Already, the Singaporean government could force the entire paddock to be isolated for a fortnight before we can access the track.

“For Austria, it’s different. The country is emerging from the crisis which, at home, has been relatively moderate. In this safe country, the rule of the game would be to do something in the even safer paddock.”

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.