Paddock, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

F1 plans to use contact tracing app for Covid-19 cases

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 plans to use a contact tracing app to identify any paddock member who may have come into contact with someone who tests positive for Covid-19.

Similar apps have already been introduced in different countries in an attempt to limit further spread of the coronavirus while allowing restrictions on daily life to be eased.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner explained how the system will work in F1 if someone in the paddock returns a positive Covid-19 test. “There will be an app, which we haven’t seen yet, so we can monitor the situation, [see] who the person infected was in contact with,” he said.

“Those protocols [are] in place so that you can really see who he was in contact with the app. And if the app is not used, they need to tell us who they were in contact with and then you take [them] out.”

Team members will be grouped within ‘bubbles’ to limit how far the virus could spread. “They split it up in bubbles, everything is in bubbles,” said Steiner. “So maybe six people have to go out of the paddock and be replaced with new people. And if there is too many I think the protocol is that that team doesn’t participate in the race.”

Steiner said Haas will not be sending additional staff to the first race in case replacements are needed at short notice.

“We have got some people standing by in the factory, [who] are tested, which could go at any time. So we are not taking them to Austria because it is very difficult anyway.

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“But they are prepared, they are tested so they are ready to go if needed. But we are not taking them there and having them sit in the hotel.”

Pietro Fittipaldi, Guenther Steiner, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
Steiner ‘not panicking’ over need for reserve drivers
Haas has named Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz as its reserve drivers. However neither has sufficient FIA superlience points to race in Formula 1.

Steiner said the team will decide on who will stand in for Romain Grosjean or Kevin Magnussen if they are needed.

“First of all, we try to keep our drivers safe and not getting the virus,” he said. “That’s our first attempt to do that one.

“Then a back-up, I think we are rushing in a little bit too much, ‘oh we need a reserve driver, it’s very dangerous’. It can happen any time that somebody gets a cold or somebody gets a fever at any other race. I think we’re a lot more protected in the moment for this not infecting our main drivers.

“So I’m not panicking now ‘we need to have five reserve drivers on standby because they all could get coronavirus’. I think what is put in place by FIA and FOM is as best as we can. If we get in a scenario that we need a reserve driver we can deal with it at the appropriate time.”

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2020 F1 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 3 comments on “F1 plans to use contact tracing app for Covid-19 cases”

    1. Haas has named Pietro Fittipaldi and Louis Deletraz as its reserve drivers. However neither has sufficient FIA superlience points to race in Formula 1.

      Whether I think Superlicence points are a good thing or not, the rule is you can’t drive unless you have enough of them. I just don’t see the logic in naming people as reserve drivers when they don’t have the prerequisite qualifications. If one of Haas’s regular drivers has to withdraw from the Grand prix, what then? As far as I can tell one of Haas’s cars has to sit the race out, which defeats the purpose of having a reserve driver.

      1. Which is a black mark against the superlicence system then – given that so few drivers around the world have enough points for F1.

        Reserve drivers are more for marketing and sim work – they rarely get time in the car anyway – so would be little, if any, better than someone from outside the team who could/would be subbed in for the race.

    2. Team members will be grouped within ‘bubbles’ to limit how far the virus could spread.

      I’m pleased to hear this. Finally we’ve got an insight into how teams plan to proceed if an infected person is discovered within a team or in one of the support people or media.

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