Racing Point have confirmed seven of their staff have tested positive for COVID-19 during the 2020 F1 season, including both drivers.
Sergio Perez missed the two races at Silverstone in August after producing a positive test result for the coronavirus, while Lance Stroll sat out the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring earlier this month.
Stroll did not test positive during the race weekend, when it was thought he was merely suffering from a stomach upset, but was found to have COVID when he returned home to Switzerland. The driver’s father, team owner Lawrence Stroll, also tested positive.
Otmar Szafnauer, the Racing Point team principal, has claimed the team “test more than any other business on the planet”.
Now, as reported by the BBC, it has emerged there have been a total of seven positive tests among Racing Point personnel, with Perez revealing in his press conference on the eve of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend at Imola that “two members of my car” were not present at the Nurburgring.
“It was an unfortunate situation,” said Perez. “The best thing to do is to wish them a quick recovery, the racing side is less relevant.
“Let’s not forget, this virus can get very serious, so for me the most important thing was to have them back fully recovered – which they are back, both of my guys, and that’s the most important thing.”
Ready and raring to go for some practice?! 🤩
Well you shouldn't be, it starts tomorrow 😜
— BWT Racing Point F1 Team (@RacingPointF1) October 30, 2020
However, Szafnauer denied either of them had been a front-end mechanic.
At the Portuguese Grand Prix, Szafnauer had to listen to McLaren CEO Zak Brown sit next to him and question Racing Point’s testing policy following the Stroll scenario. At Imola, Szafnauer again defended his team’s procedures.
Asked how many COVID-19 cases the team have had, Szafnauer said: “We’ve had no engineers. I said that last week and will say it again – I don’t know where, why and how people think we had a positive test with an engineer. No engineer has tested positive.
“Two drivers, a team owner and a handful of other people that were tested at the factory and that’s it – in total, seven.
“We don’t name people for obvious reasons as to who tested positive and we don’t name their roles, because you could pick out who it is and we have to respect their confidentiality.
“They don’t want everyone to know, the FIA doesn’t say either and we report to the FIA. To be clear – no engineers, two drivers, who we told everybody about, and a team owner.
“In total there are seven, so there are four other ones and they range from people in our marketing department, riggers, laminators – only seven, but we aren’t going to say who it is.”