Esteban Ocon, Renault, Albert Park, 2020

Ocon: I’ve changed everything I do to minimise virus risk

2020 F1 season

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Esteban Ocon says he’s changed every aspect of his life to minimise his chance of catching the Covid-19 coronavirus.

As he prepares to start his first F1 race for a year and a half, the Renault driver described how he’s made “massive” changes to his lifestyle to limit his potential exposure to the virus.

“I’m changing everything,” he said. “There’s not one single thing that I do the same in my life nowadays.

“When I travel or as soon as I go out to get some fruit at the supermarket or anything, everything’s different, of course.”

Ocon is returning to F1 this year after spending 2019 as a reserve driver at Mercedes. “It would be crazy to wait so long, to have prepared that much, and arrive and be positive at the test for myself or risking myself to be positive and getting risk for the team,” he said.

“So I’m definitely massively careful. ‘Risk zero’ doesn’t exist, unfortunately, but you can take some out if you are careful.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Ricciardo “got through a lot of cleaning products”
Team mate Daniel Ricciardo said he has also taken steps to minimise his personal risk.

“Probably as most have been doing, [I’m] obviously travelling with masks and going through lots of cleaning products,” he said. “Even coming back from the supermarket and actually cleaning the packages that I bought before putting them away.

“So it’s just taking those extra steps, I guess, that would seem certainly necessary for now.”

However he doesn’t expect the precautions to interfere with his return to racing in Austria this weekend.

“I think going to the circuit and being back in the environment and preparing before the race weekend, I don’t see any preparation being ended,” he said.

“Obviously, we’ve got our driver space to warm up and to prepare for the race itself. So it’s more, I guess, from a general hygiene point of view. But as far as getting into the car ready to go I believe I’ll still be able to use everything I have before to to make sure I’m hopping in the car at 100 percent.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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11 comments on “Ocon: I’ve changed everything I do to minimise virus risk”

  1. ColdFly (@)
    1st July 2020, 7:33

    Even coming back from the supermarket and actually cleaning the packages that I bought before putting them away.

    Not sure how helpful that will be. You already touched it in the supermarket a few times.
    And even if wearing gloves in the supermarket, you will have touched your face, clothes, etc with those gloves. And interestingly people wearing gloves clean their hands less often than people who don’t wear gloves.

    1. It’s really not that hard to not touch your face or clothes for the period of time while you’re in the supermarket wearing gloves. I’ve been doing it for 3 months now. Gloves off after putting the groceries in a bag in the trunk. Disinfect hands for extra safety. Drive home, disinfect the packages and wash your hands after.

      But I guess since half the people out there don’t even know where their nose is, you can’t expect everybody to be careful.

      1. @kuvemar I don’t use gloves when doing food-shopping nor when being outdoors in general, nor disinfect packages, although I do wash hands and use hand sanitizer every time I return from outdoors.

    2. @coldfly Touching the face with a mask on is more difficult – that’s one of the reasons it’s a good idea to wear one. (It’s even harder if one is also in the habit of shopping in sunglasses). My routine when returning from an outdoor excursion is usually (unless I know I’m about to go back out again) to put that set of clothing in the washing pile, wash mask and hands, set mask to dry, put on fresh clothes and then put the dried mask in the “ready” position, if a mask has finished drying. I don’t wipe down most packages, largely because leaving them in a sunny. warm place for half an hour is also effective at reducing viral load (frozen food packages are the main exception, because those 30 minutes could thaw the product out).

      Gloves aren’t advised for most people in most situations. They work if the gloves are treated as if they are one’s hands, but usually they are not. I prefer using hand sanitiser before entering a supermarket, and topping that up if I’m in the shop a long time, because this means that a little sanitising residue gets on the parcels and starts the cleaning process while I shop.

  2. Problem with being super hygienic is that you minimise exposure to other milder bacteria and viruses and probably do more damage to your immune system in the long term. A healthy body needs an active immune system!

  3. “…to minimise his chance of catching the Covid-19 coronavirus.”

    Of note to the author of the article: COVID-19 is not a coronavirus, but a ramification caused by the virus.

    1. @serg33 COVID-19 is a specific type of coronavirus (other coronaviruses include SARS, MERS and rhinoviruses). The ramification of COVID-19 is called Coronavirus disease; other coronaviruses have different ramifications (respectively for the provided examples: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Middle East Respiratory syndrome and 40-50% of common colds).

  4. The virus is Sars-CoV-2, the resulting ailment is COVID-19.
    The mask he is wearing “may” offer some protection to the wearer, but it does NOT offer much if any to others. Guessing he doesn’t know or care.
    Or possibly that thing on the front is a button … “Push to pass.”

    1. @rekibsn Sars-CoV-2 is the full scientific name for COVID-19. Masks definitely offer protection to other people, it is the degree of protection to oneself that is in doubt (balancing the risk of mask misuse with the blocking of large droplets).

  5. I too am worried about Ocon.

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