The shark fin of the R.S. 20 Fernando Alonso has driven at Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya for a filming day to help him prepare for a 2021 return to Formula One.

Two Renault team members test positive for Covid-19 ahead of Alonso filming day

2020 F1 season

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Two members of Renault’s Formula 1 team have tested positive for Covid-19 while in Spain, RaceFans understands.

The pair were among the contingent who were due to attend the team’s filming day with Fernando Alonso at the Circuit de Catalunya. They are believed to be among a group of up to six team members who were isolated as a precaution in their hotel and did not travel to the circuit.

Renault visited the Spanish track on its return from last weekend’s race at the Nurburgring, en route to the Autodromo do Algarve which will hold next week’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

RaceFans understands there is no indication the team have not been fully compliant with FIA Covid-19 protocols. None of the team members concerned are believed to have been in contact with the senior members of Renault’s hierarchy who were present at the Eifel Grand Prix, including CEO Luca de Meo and managing director Cyril Abiteboul.

The development follows other recent positive cases of Covid-19 in the paddock. Two members of the Mercedes team tested positive for the coronavirus last weekend, leading to the isolation of several of their colleagues.

Two other teams are known to have experienced positive Covid-19 cases: a McLaren team member at the Australian Grand Prix in March and Racing Point driver Sergio Perez, who missed the British and 70th Anniversary grands prix at Silverstone as a result.

Formula 1 and the FIA issue weekly updates on the extent of Covid-19 tests within the sport. Out of 1,635 tests conducted in the week to Thursday 8th October three positive cases were detected.

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2020 F1 season

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Author information

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...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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6 comments on “Two Renault team members test positive for Covid-19 ahead of Alonso filming day”

  1. I’m curious to find out if this recent spate of positive cases is a result of “Covid fatigue” in the paddock. F1 has done remarkably well to get the show on the road this year and it seemed like the strict measures which were put in place were helping to stop the spread of the virus in the F1 paddock. But it seems to me like social distancing and team bubble rules have been ignored by some in the paddock which may be a contributing factor to the rise in cases.

    As I am basing this on nothing other than what I see on the world feed, so I am more than happy to be proved wrong on this. But based on what I’ve seen, social distancing isn’t really in operation (for example in post race podium ceremonies – I’m talking more about the teams gathering under the podium than anything else) and you are seeing personnel from different teams talking to one another more which I thought was against the rules. Again, I am happy to be proved wrong on this point.

    1. Argh…my emphasis was all wrong. :/

    2. Danny Ric couldn’t contain himself on his exit from the car (or deny the team’s desire to share in the unique result) but I thought the rest of the players were doing the right thing.
      There’s a significant uptick in cases in the general population right across Europe – that’ll show up any armour chinks in F1’s measures.

    3. @geemac I’ve noticed gradually less social distancing going on as well, especially among drivers (which is why I’m surprised there’s only been the one positive case among them so far). I don’t think conversing with other teams is banned, provided masks are in use… …but I’ve seen a few people not quite following the rule, and not getting (publically) told off for it. This is a bad sign.

      Although in this case I think it is more likely that community infections rising are the cause of the infection. There’s no indication that the isolated team members went to the Nurburgring, and although we cannot see if team members are following the rules when they are home, I can confirm that in the UK at least, many non-F1 people are ignoring them.

    4. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
      14th October 2020, 12:26

      Social distancing seems to go for a toss as soon as the race ends, right from to the mechanics showing their fists at the flag to the podium celebrations. I often see mechanics with exposed noses singing the national anthem (Toro Rosso at Monza springs to mind). The drivers’ masks come off as well after being drenched with champagne. I can’t say if such practices directly contribute to the rise in covid cases, but surely it defeats the purpose after having maintained distance throughout the whole weekend. Even Mick Schumacher (Alfa) was standing right next to Vettel when they were looking at his helmet…apparently team bio-bubbles exist?!

      FIA should demarcate 3 zones on the SF straight/pit lane (2, considering both Mercs almost always make the podium) where pit crew can sing and rejoice to their heart’s content.

  2. Considering 99% of those in the paddock are fit and healthy and probably nowhere near in the at risk category, it might be far easier to shield those actually at risk and let the huge majority get on with it as normal.

    In fact, that’s how the rest of the world should be dealing with this flu bug, instead of these ridiculous restrictions brought in for nefarious reasons.

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