Lance Stroll has admitted he should have had a COVID-19 test before leaving the Nurburgring – but insisted he was only following his doctor’s orders.
The Canadian revealed in the last couple of days he had tested positive for the coronavirus on the evening of the Eifel Grand Prix when he arrived home and had then self-isolated for 10 days.
The timeframe outlined by the Racing Point driver means he is free to compete in the Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimao, having missed the Nurburgring race when Nico Hulkenberg stepped in to deputise.
In Germany, Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer insisted Stroll had been unwell with what appeared to be merely a stomach upset, having been off-colour since the Russian Grand Prix two weeks earlier.
But with the 21-year-old driver now almost certain to have had COVID-19 while at the Nurburgring – albeit he stressed he had also self-isolated there because of his stomach upset – questions have been asked about how the team dealt with the matter.
Stroll was not tested in between the Tuesday and the Sunday evening after he had arrived home. His father, Lawrence, the Racing Point team owner, also tested positive.
— BWT Racing Point F1 Team (@RacingPointF1) October 22, 2020
Despite claiming he had only done what his own doctor had advised him to, Stroll admitted during his pre-race press conference in Portugal: “Hindsight’s a beautiful thing, for sure. At the time I didn’t think I had COVID. I should have got tested. My next scheduled test was Sunday evening at the end of the weekend and I stuck to that plan.
“I woke up Saturday morning and had an upset stomach which was quite bad and so I was not fit to drive. On the Saturday morning I took the decision to stay away from the track. I spoke to my doctor, told him about my upset stomach. He told me to self-isolate.
“He told me they are not COVID symptoms. I was not coughing, I didn’t have a fever or a headache, I just had an upset stomach, so I stayed away from the track and flew home the next day on the Sunday, took my protocol test that I always take after the race weekends and it just happened to be positive that Sunday evening
“I wasn’t in contact with anyone in the team because we didn’t run on the Friday. I took all the precautions and avoided any kind of contact with the team on the Saturday as soon as I didn’t start feeling well. The people I was in contact with were my trainer and my assistant, Lucy, and they were isolating as well
“I have no idea how I contracted it. A lot of people have this virus in the world, it takes nothing to get it. That’s all I can say – anyone can get this virus.
“I was disappointed I got it, but I got it and now I’m looking forward to the weekend. I’m feeling good. I’m alive, I’m breathing, I’m healthy, I’m ready for the weekend.”