Perez wants talks over letting Covid-positive drivers compete

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Sergio Perez in front of a grandstand. Bahrain March 2022.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, stands in front of a grandstand in Bahrain. March 2022.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez feels talks are needed regarding letting drivers with Covid compete if their symptoms are mild.

Formula 1 has had strict protocols in place throughout the pandemic, which has involved any paddock personnel, not just the drivers, being required to isolate.

That has often also been in accordance with the stance of the nations that Formula 1 visits.

But while mandatory testing has been scrapped for this season as some restrictions in the paddock ease, teams have not decided to allow their driver to compete if they have Covid.

The first race of the 2022 season has not even arrived yet and already two drivers have been forced to isolate after testing positive.

Daniel Ricciardo had missed all three days of the Bahrain pre-season test, the McLaren driver feeling ill on the opening day, before returning a positive test on day two which ruled him out of the event completely.

And on Thursday, ahead of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel tested positive, meaning he will miss the race weekend with Nico Hulkenberg taking his place.

So Perez, who missed the British and 70th Anniversary GPs in 2020 due to Covid, thinks it is time for a re-think of the protocols.

Sergio Perez frowning during testing. Barcelona February 2022
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez frowning during testing as he watches from the sidelines. Barcelona February 2022

“Going forward we should discuss whether we allow the drivers to race if the symptoms are mild,” he told reporters in Bahrain.

“The drivers can obviously be the judge, but I think it makes sense to have a discussion.

“There is only so much you can do… I think it’s just luck-dependent. It is difficult to not do anything. I’m just very sorry for Seb and for Daniel, but it can happen to anyone.”

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz explained that although he is still remaining cautious where he can, he does hope to see a return to normality, suggesting that Formula 1 must “move on” and “get on with life”.

“I’m trying to stay as disciplined as I was two years ago,” said the Spaniard.

“But I’m not going to lie, it’s tiring and it’s tough after two years to do the same things. Some things I got used to, some things I still struggle [with].

“I just hope we get back to normality as soon as possible. It might be controversial, but I still think we need to move on a bit and get on with life. It’s unfortunate for the other drivers and it could be me at any point.”


But since drivers are still barred from competing if they have Covid, Sainz’s Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc says that means that they must remain cautious.

“We need to be cautious, also in-between drivers and all of these things, because COVID has not disappeared from one day to another,” he said.

“Still now, if you have COVID, you cannot race, it’s very costly. We still need to be very careful.”


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