‘Very cautious’ Brown ‘shocked’ by positive test

Jon Wilde
Zak Brown

Zak Brown

Zak Brown was “shocked” by his positive COVID-19 test which means he has to miss the British Grand Prix.

The McLaren CEO was ruled out of attending round 10 of the World Championship at Silverstone when he was named among three team members to return a positive test for the coronavirus.

While the other two were not identified in a team statement, McLaren said none of them had been a close contact of drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, who therefore would not have to self-isolate unless any more positive tests emerged.

During a video interview with Formula 1, Brown said he was experiencing only mild symptoms which he said would not have kept him away from Silverstone had he not tested positive.

“I feel fine,” said the 49-year-old American. “I guess on a scale of one to 10 I’ve got a ‘one’ sniffle and a bit of a head cold, is what it feels like.

“I’ll get tested again tomorrow. We’re able to measure ‘have I peaked, am I still peaking’, but right now if someone hadn’t have told me I had tested positive I would be at work and headed to Silverstone.

“I feel fine and frustrated because I’ve been double vaccinated and ultra-careful for a year-and-a-half, but it’s just one of these that hits home when it gets you and you have no idea where you got it from.

“I was shocked because I’ve probably done now 150-175 tests and I’ve a stash of the lateral flow tests, so I self-test every morning just to be on the safe side. I’m a very cautious individual, so I was shocked at the call.”

Stand out from the crowd with McLaren merchandise via the official Formula 1 store

Brown, who says he has more of an overseeing role during a race weekend while team principal Andreas Seidl orchestrates operations, said he will still follow events at Silverstone but will only have access to around “60%” of the full data.

“I’ve got my triple top secret laptop that will plug into the pit wall and the TV on, so it’s almost like I would be there,” said Brown.

“I just won’t be able to say ‘hi’ to the fans and be with the team and our sponsor partners. But as far as being engaged in the race, for sure.

“I wasn’t planning on going to [the next race in] Hungary – nothing to do with Hungary – but if I had the luxury of picking one to miss, this wouldn’t have been it.”

He will also miss out on driving the Lotus 79 he owns – which Mario Andretti raced to victory in the 1978 World Championship – during an exhibition at Silverstone this weekend.

“Truth be known, that’s probably what I’m most upset about,” added Brown. “I had to wave that off.

“Mario drove it at Goodwood last week and I was going to take part in the demonstration this weekend, so a little bit of salt in the wound if you like.”

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