Racing Point to “forensically” investigate how Perez contracted Covid-19

2020 British Grand Prix

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Racing Point CEO Otmar Szafnauer says the team will conduct a painstaking study of how Sergio Perez contracted Covid-19 prior to the British Grand Prix.

However he insisted their driver had done nothing wrong by returning to Mexico, where around 7,000 new cases of the virus are being diagnosed each day.

“I don’t think Checo did anything wrong going back to his family,” said Perez. “He takes all the precautions.

“I think it’s no different than, you know, Ferrari going back to Italy, for example.”

Szafnauer said Perez was astonished to discover he had contracted the virus.

“He’s asymptomatic,” said Szafnauer. “He was surprised that he tested positive. He couldn’t believe it. He said ‘there’s no way, I’ve no symptoms, I feel completely fine’.

“He travelled privately, so he thought he took ample precautions, he didn’t get on a commercial flight in between races. So he was surprised.

“But he’s OK, we’re going to check on him daily, send the doctor to him, he’s quarantining now. And we just have to make sure that this virus gets out of his system and it comes back racing.”

Perez did not need to get permission from the team before returning to Mexico, said Szafnauer, but they did check on his travel arrangements.

“We’ve got no clauses in the contract where he’s got to ask permission to go back to his family,” said Szafnauer. “I think his family was in Mexico, it’s not a surprise that he went back to Mexico. That’s what he’s done for forever while he’s been driving for us.

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“We did discuss how he was flying there and back and it was always by a private flight, never commercially. There’s no issue with that.”

Szafnauer did not criticise Perez’s decision to return to Mexico. “There are many people that are in hotspots all around the world. A big contingent of our factory live in Northampton, and Northampton was shut down as well.

“So our philosophy is we take all the precautions necessary in light of where we’re travelling. And if we do take those precautions, I’m confident that we won’t get the virus. We just need to now forensically look back and try to ascertain how Checo became infected and make sure that we cover that off in the future.”

Other Racing Point team members who have been in contact with Perez, including a group based at the factory who run the simulator, have been isolated.

“There are two members of staff that travel with Checo: his PA and his physio. They both tested negative, but they’re isolating as well for either seven or 10 days.

“There are three members of the team that did a simulator session with Checo. They didn’t really come in contact with him because the simulator’s in one room and the control centre where they are is in a totally separate room. So we had the social distance required. We also wore masks as we always do and PPE [personal protective equipment] as well.

“As a precaution, they then stayed at home and isolated until they got a negative test. So we tested them, all three of them are negative as well. They tested again this morning, they’re at the factory now, they haven’t come into the paddock. But my anticipation is they’ll be negative again for their second test and then thereafter we’ll see, we’ll make a decision on whether they should come into the paddock.”

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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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18 comments on “Racing Point to “forensically” investigate how Perez contracted Covid-19”

  1. He’s been sick since Hungary, I posted a vid on YouTube of him saying he felt off, from after the Hungary q3.

    1. That didn’t have anything to do with it. When you are following twenty drivers through most of the year, some are bound to feel unwell at various times. The average adult contracts a cold multiple times during the year, and that’s to say nothing of food intoxication etc.

      … not to mention he was also tested back then, as the others, so yeah.

      1. Yep, but the PCR may have detected traces from a similar malaise, as the test is not fully and accurately developed for SARS-Cov2 as of today.

  2. It was reported here he went to a restaurant??
    If so, sorry, Checo, much as I love to see you drive that was very silly.
    Here in Hollyweird, I haven’t been out to eat in four months..

    1. He made a mistake, but the team protects him which is common.

      1. Just imagine if it was Max. Red Bull would blame it on Ricciardo.

  3. So…. Where does the bubble start and where does it end? Bottas went to Monaco but the people he was with were also with him in the Bubble at the track. And as long as you keep it that way…. fine. Perez went to visit someone outside the bubble completely. Wonder who else was around his mother and his mothers home. So to me that means he did not take all precautions. Same as with Leclerc when he was spotted at a party in Monaco in between the Austria races.
    When will F1 put it’s foot down. There should be more strict rules on movement and consequences to keep everyone from stepping outside the rules.
    I knew that this would happen eventually and affect a driver.

    1. Yep. Jimmie Johnson, the 7X NASCAR champ tested positive. Missed one race, then back at it. It will happen, and probably will happen again. I think the interesting thing will be when it happens to a driver who is in series championship contention, will the tests be revealed if positive. The ethics of releasing test results is a fascinating area right now.

  4. My main concern is that the PCR test would kept saying Checo is positive not because he was infected but the RNA residue of the virus. When this happen in Bali and Korea, it was recurring for more than two months.

    1. Don’t forget that these guys (and girls) are tested every five days, and until now they all came back negative (which is positive).
      You asked it somewhere else: the test are carried out by Eurofins; this is an article on their website about their F1 tests.
      Also check the technical link to the actual (qRT-PCR) test.

      1. Thanks for the link. They really claim as the world leader in this eh @coldfly

        Maybe I’m not making myself clear, what happen in Bali and Korea were the patients kept getting positive results (which is negative) because of RNA residue of already death (if they ever alive) virus.

        1. @ruliemaulana,
          I suggest you do a good google search, and inform yourself. You can even ask Eurofins that question; they are very responsive.
          Those second positive tests were in May, have been researched, and the result included in the updated testing protocols.
          This is not the site for me/others to explain that to you, especially since you seem to get your info from outdated or biased media.

          But common-sense should discard many questions you have as Perez was tested every 5 days and this is the first time he tested positive.

  5. What’s the point of any quarantine restrictions, the pandemic is over.(Sarcasm)

  6. Yes, that’s what those rich people thought when they were traveling to Brazil for a party as well.
    We don’t travel with the common folk, we don’t get corona. It was just the superspread event of the country.

  7. Crowds wearing few masks crowding beaches is OK , why are there no fans at Silverstone ?

    1. Rui (@colinmcrui)
      1st August 2020, 0:01

      I get your point @budchekov, but the answer is clear. F1 races are organised events and as such are under much more scrutiny. Besides that, it is really hard to control a population’s free will (at some point you will be messing around with people’s freedom and that is a shady domain, hey it’s not China). In Portugal we have had similar behaviour at beaches and there isn’t much you can do besides advising against it and occasionally closing access to these places. Even among families there are different opinions on how to behave in this era and keep yourself safe. It’s a learning phase for everyone, let’s just hope most of us do learn something from it.

  8. He went to visit his Mother who had been in hospital.

    Now come on.
    We have the most virulent and deadly virus in living memory peaking right now so he flew half way around the world to see someone who has just been in the perfect place to catch the virus.

    I would have gone to see my Mum as well.
    I would also have told my Boss that I might catch something nasty.

    No sympathy for the guy. I hope his Mum is OK.

  9. Yeh I wish I could visit my family too. Some are just 5 minutes down the road and I’m not allowed… it all seems rather irresponsible.

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