Williams race staff isolating after COVID cases

Jon Wilde
Working remotely away from circuits during race weekends is “phenomenally difficult”, according to Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson.

Williams pit wall

Williams have revealed they will be flying some usually factory-based staff to the Turkish Grand Prix after a number of positive COVID-19 cases.

In a statement on their website, the Grove-based Formula 1 team confirmed the different personnel will be on hand at Istanbul Park due to the self-isolation protocols implemented when positive tests for the coronavirus occur.

No identities were disclosed, with the news emerging subsequent to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend at Imola where it emerged that George Russell’s trainer, Aleix Casanovas, had displayed mild respiratory systems.

Russell, it was reported, had previously had contact with Casanovas the previous Sunday when the Portuguese Grand Prix had taken place.

However, the British driver tested negative and took part at Imola, where he qualified 13th and then retired from the race after an incident behind the Safety Car when in with a chance of scoring his first Formula 1 points.

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The Williams statement, looking ahead to the race weekend in Turkey, read: “Williams can confirm we have had a number of positive COVID-19 cases during the course of the Portuguese and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix.

“Whilst we will not be detailing any individual’s private information, we can confirm that all cases have been managed in line with the FIA COVID-19 guidelines, working with the FIA and with the ongoing safety of our people a priority.

“In order to ensure we follow these guidelines, several members of our trackside team are also isolating as a result of being identified as close contacts of these positive cases.

“As per our internal COVID-19 protocols, a number of factory-based team members will therefore fulfil these roles for the upcoming Turkish Grand Prix weekend.

“We ask for understanding that we will not be adding any additional information on this subject, but we would like to extend our thanks to all our travelling and factory-based team members and their families for their continued work and support during what is an extremely challenging time.”

If either Williams driver – Russell or Nicholas Latifi – was forced to miss the event in Turkey, it could potentially offer an opportunity to the team’s reserve and development driver Jack Aitken.

The only racers to have missed a grand prix this season are Racing Point duo Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, with Nico Hulkenberg standing in for them at the combined three events they had to sit out due to illness.

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