Three McLaren staff including Brown test positive for Covid-19

2021 F1 season

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McLaren has confirmed three of its team members have tested positive for Covid-19.

One of the trio is McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. The team confirmed its drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, were not among his close contacts.

According to McLaren the positive cases will not have any affect on their participation in this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

“McLaren Racing confirmed today that three team members, including CEO Zak Brown, tested positive for Covid-19 during the team’s rigorous testing programme before the British Grand Prix,” said the team in a statement. “Neither of our drivers are close contacts.

“All three cases are unconnected and now isolating in accordance with government guidelines. The team’s operations for the British Grand Prix are unaffected.”

Norris tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this year before the season began, which did not affect his participation in the championship.

Last year a McLaren team member tested positive for Covid-19 at the Australian Grand Prix. That led the team to withdraw from the event, which was subsequently called off.

Notable positive Covid-19 cases in F1

18/03/2020One team memberMcLaren
30/07/2020Sergio PerezRacing PointMissed British and 70th Anniversary grands prix
08/10/2020Six team membersMercedes
13/10/2020Two team membersRenault
21/10/2020Lawrence StrollRacing Point
21/10/2020Lance StrollRacing PointMissed Eifel Grand Prix
30/10/2020Four team membersRacing Point
11/11/2020Simon RobertsWilliams
16/11/2020Mario IsolaPirelli
26/11/2020Jonathan WheatleyRed Bull
1/12/2020Lewis HamiltonMercedesMissed Sakhir Grand Prix
5/1/2021Lando NorrisMcLaren
13/1/2021Charles LeclercFerrari
25/1/2021Toto WolffMercedes
31/1/2021Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri
11/3/2021Frederic VasseurAlfa Romeo
25/3/2021Two team membersAston Martin
15/7/2021Three team membersMcLarenIncluding Zak Brown

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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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41 comments on “Three McLaren staff including Brown test positive for Covid-19”

  1. Excellent start of the weekend with sold out full crowd capacities!

    I still expect people in F1, but especially the UK government, to exclaim how surprised they are with the extreme rise in infections in a week or two from now, when the numbers from the football finale, from Wimbledon, from multiple festivals and from the F1 weekend trickle through into the new cases (just like how the Dutch government acted surprised by booming new infection numbers after almost completely opening up at the start of this month)

    Let’s hope that vaccination rates and amount of people who already were sick will prove to be high enough to not overwhelm hospitals again with serious cases and even fatalities.

    1. We are on the brink of complete economic collapse if we don’t move forward and at quite some pace. I can’t express more seriously that the consequences of that will utterly dwarf anything Covid could throw at a country. I am talking food shortages, currency collapse, mass extreme poverty and that’s the UK. The last year we’ve seen an increase in Extreme Poverty rates (80-120m actual human beings). This will eventually seep into countries like the UK if we don’t grow up very very quickly and absord the risk. We did it in 1919 after a pandemic which was killed 64x more (and younger) people than Covid.

      It sounds harsh because Covid is serious, but what we have done with regard to the economy could be so bad I barely want to continue typing.

      1. Alan, you seem to ignore that people feeling unsafe because of a risk of falling ill in itself due to rampant Covid occurance will hurt the economy regardless of measures taken.

        Conversely, decently planned in a predictable manner, well executed and controlled and timely measures (with solid communication to back that up) to keep the disease somewhat under control would have helped make people confident enough to plan for the near future, to spend money etc.

        That you added the self inflicted horror of Brexit does make it even harder, and has hurt the UK perspective for getting out of this crisis even more, again, regardless of exactly how much Covid adds to that.

        1. The only control measure we have is vaccines. Everything is done, over. All the other measures cause actual harm to the economy. Let’s talk about measures. A mask mandate makes almost all indoor entertainment venues unviable, this is government data. So that measure is now a no go unless you want complete collapse of the entertainment sector. That then causes chaos to a place like London because it suddenly is no longer the cultural hub it was. London is a disproportionally important factor with regard to UK GDP. We can’t afford to lose London’s strength. So these controlled measures? What do you mean? A mask mandate ends all venues.

          It’s a domino effect. We have an insurance industry that now won’t insure for cancellation. No matter how ‘well planned’ you are, the industry is in disarray. Any suggestion of ‘lockdown’ or NPIs means almost all entertainment is not possible to organise without GIGANTIC risk.

          You say people are fearful. I get that, I am fearful (I was before with Influenza because i knew how people didn’t take that as seriously as they might should do). But the only solution there is lose the fear and move on. That is it. Are you not alarmed that GDP is still what 8% down on pre-covid and we have a rising inflation problem?

          We have to believe in the vaccines, otherwise it’s game over. It’s hard to take, but if we don’t move on fast and psychologically reset our expectation of what life offers us with regard to risk we will cause harm beyond recognition.

          1. @Alan Dove as the owner of a hospitality venue I can assure you that a mask mandate most certainly does not end all venues. Far from it – in fact, we shall be continuing to encourage the wearing of masks and social distancing even after the 19th.

            I think @bascb got it spot on with regards to planning. I considered buying tickets for this weekend’s grand prix but chose not to as I couldn’t be certain I’d even be able to go. Even now – I’m glad I didn’t get tickets because, quite frankly, the thought of being in such close proximity to that many people with no mandate to wear masks or socially distance from me is scary.

          2. Are you not alarmed that GDP is still what 8% down on pre-covid and we have a rising inflation problem?

            Not really Alan.

            Just remember that the 8% you mention could well be less than what brexit caused, meaning that the economy is actually UP on what it might have been. Since London is such a critical economic part, it’s a shame that the harm done to the booming economic climate there from severing from the common market wasn’t taken seriously before going with Brexit. Covid only adds insult to injury.

            Look at how other EU states are doing economically – the likes of Italy, Spain and Greece are suffering a LOT because they are quite heavily reliant on Tourism. But countries like then Netherlands or France for example were showing signs of promising rebounding numbers in the last quarter and the EU as a whole looks like it could be up by some 3-5 % soon. Why is he UK doing far worse? Well, i think I gave you my answer to that, and it was a political choice.

    2. @bascb The number of people in hospital with COVID is now so high that at least 6 hospitals in the UK have cancelled non-emergency procedures to accommodate them. Manchester’s entire hospital system is pretty close to following suit (although at present only 1 of the 11 in-system hospitals is actually taking the measure). That’s before taking into account the people who will go there due to behaving as if masks ceased to be required from the moment the government gave a date for it to happen (instead of waiting for that date) because their hospital visits will show up in 1-2 weeks, let alone those from Wembley (2-3 weeks), Silverstone (3-4 weeks) or the release of restrictions (5-8 weeks).

      For those concerned about GDP, I already know several small businesses that are shut due to positive COVID cases. Medium/large companies are working around it for now, but their ability to do so will be limited if more hospitals have to close non-emergency services. One of several reasons some companies can’t hire staff is due to many people having debilitating versions of Long COVID – which from the few studies done so far, is only partially mitigated by avoiding hospital and sometimes causes hospitalisation when the original infection did not. More cases, even ones that initially seem mild, will exacabrate the recruitment problem.

      Due to attempting such a fast re-open with so few measures, the UK has already committed to losing a significant chunk of short-term GDP (as well as more enforced poverty and extreme poverty), beyond what is currently displayed on the statistics. Countries that locked down faster and harder for each wave have lost less GDP than those who delayed. At some point, that has to be taken into consideration with strategies. COVID is not bored of humans, no matter how many humans may be bored of COVID.

      I have a horrible feeling Lockdown 4 will come by the end of August, whether the government wants to issue it or not, in a last-ditch attempt to save the economy from the consequences of the over-hasty return.

      1. Yeah, it really does look like full steam ahead into a huge Tsunami doesn’t it @alianora-la-canta. What you describe (and what @mouse_nightshirt describe first hand from their work) should give everyone who thinks opening up fast is the right thing to do and will somehow save the economy pause.

        I can only hope at least a decent amount of people DO heed the warnings, as @minnis mentions, I myself would also stay away from such an event at this time, but clearly only too many act as if everything is fine, and it is already coming back to bite us.

  2. petebaldwin (@)
    15th July 2021, 14:17

    The rates in England are already skyrocketing and as of Monday, there will be no requirement to socially distance or wear masks anymore so I don’t think Silverstone is going to make much of an impact overall.

    They’re banking on the vaccine keeping people OK and are abandoning any concept of people not catching covid so I would expect quite a lot of disruption over the next month or two considering most teams are based in England.

    It’s a scary time for the anti-vax types because the government’s latest strategy is simply to give up and hope the vaccine keeps people alive. I’ve seen more people I know get infected in the last 2 weeks than throughout the entire pandemic.

    1. @petebaldwin We already know the vaccine has limits, unfortunately.

  3. Exactly what I was fearing to happen. Australia was wise to get their round cancelled. If Europeans relax their control that much, and get Covid on the rise again, it will be because of the sports events, concerts, no-mask policy, etc etc. And all that was about to be exported to Melbourne.

    1. Yeah, quite predictable, isn’t it. While I think Australia missed a beat by more or less ignoring the opportunity they had to get large parts of the population vaccinated while there was not much Covid out and about, ditching the F1 race this year was a logical step.

      With the UK becoming a higher risk place of origin, it might affect the rest of the calendar, as I can see states putting more restrictions on travel from the UK in the coming months though. Who knows what Zandvoort will be like too, given the Netherlands is going much the same way.

      And it seems the weather might have something to say about some events when I look at the current situation in Northernf france, Belgium, the South of the Netherlands and the Eiffel in Germany. Might put Spa in a bit of a wet spot (and getting to events at the Nurburgring might not be easy either)

  4. What is England doing wrong? In Texas we are open for business, 42% vaccinated, no required mask wearing, full attendance at concerts and pro sports and school. The case number and fatality numbers continue to trend down. Just isolate the active cases until symptom pass, vaccinate the vulnerable and go on with life. Looking forward to full crowds in COTA in October.

    1. Delta variant. Which Texas is likely to get in high quantity pretty soon, judging by American analysis of variants.

      There have also been major problems in getting people, even with symptoms, to take a test – because they cannot afford to miss work and a positive test obliges it. There’s a quiet rebellion going on with people deactivating the COVID-19 tracing app (a contact showing up on there also requires missing work by law) and some of the hotbeds of COVID-19 had relatively low smartphone access in the first place. Not everyone who is positive is isolating, partly in rebellion at the fines and partly because they can’t afford to skip work. Border controls have been… …controversial. And the attempts to re-open have been far too fast for the situation on the ground.

      I don’t expect COTA to happen (with crowds or not) – because I think at least some of this is also happening in Texas, from what my friends there tell me.

      1. The delta variant has arrived in Texas and while it appears to be more virulent, people seem to be less likely to go to hospital or die from it. Texas has never had or required tracking apps so there is nothing to turn off and there have been no laws requiring to stay away from work. Some businesses have been checking for symptoms, particularly a fever, as a safety precaution but there are a significant percentage that test positive but are asymptomatic.

        As far as a rebellion the have been only a handful of small protests, mainly against the shutdown, but people are just getting back to life. Cell phone coverage is bad in the areas where population density is low so generally not problem. Some of the hotspots are on the border but that is another discussion far outside this forum.

        Well before COTA there will several college football games with expected crowds of over 100,000 attending so we’ll have it checked before October. I think it will happen with full crowds but we’ll see.

  5. I know that McLaren had a showing at the Goodwood festival last weekend. Was Zak Brown there? If so, hopefully he caught covid after he left.

    1. I thought I read earlier in the week that both he and Lando had attended Wimbledon on the same day. Not necessarily sitting together but we’re there on the same day I thought.
      How would the entire Wimbledon crowd not be considered “contacts”?

      1. @dbradock The definition of “contact” in the British system is within 2 metres of a confirmed positive case for 15 minutes, or within 1 metre of a confirmed positive contact for 5 minutes… …provided your smartphone Bluetooth is on… …which it probably won’t be if you’re out all day with no access to a charging port like at Wimbledon, simply to make sure you could still call a taxi home if your car breaks down or the Tube looks too busy (Bluetooth takes quite a bit of extra power).

  6. Zak wrote in his tweet that he has “communicated with all of his close contacts,” presumably so that they can self-isolate according to present UK guidelines.
    Wouldn’t RIC and NOR be “close contacts” of Zak? I don’t see how it could be otherwise, unless perhaps he has not seen them for a week or two?

    1. As the article states, neither of the drivers was in close contact with Zak in the recent days.

    2. If they weren’t within 2 metres of him for 15 minutes straight, or within 1 metre of him for 5 minutes straight within 2 days of the positive test being requested, no. (Had Zak been symptomatic, the timeframe is 48 hours before onset of the first symptom).

  7. Surf’s up. Here comes the fourth wave.

    1. @ferrox-glideh My board is ready, alas.

  8. They’ll be fine. 0.4% fatality rate and dropping, treatments improving that daily. Time for society to move on and normalcy to return.

    1. 48,553 people were PCR +ve for COVID yesterday. Even if we’re generous and don’t include the folks who didn’t get tested, 0.4% fatality rate means that 194 of them will die. And that’s just from yesterday’s cases.

      Our hospital has just reopened another COVID ward. I’ve battled all weekend and chunks of this week to try and make and get space in our ICU for critically unwell, non-covid patients. I can’t. There was one ICU bed available for our entire critical care region today, a region that serves 2.3 million people.

      Less people are dying this time around thanks to the vaccines. But the numbers of people taking up hospital beds is exponentially rising again. Around 3,784 people are currently in hospital with COVID. That’s at least 3 entire major teaching hospitals worth of capacity. And the rise is exponential, and to top it off, half the country won’t be wearing masks in crowded places from Monday. We are a long way away from being out of that, and I can tell you, for absolute certainty, that normalcy is not just around the corner.

      I wish I could tell our patients, many of whom are in their 30s and 40s this time round, that are suffering from severe or life-threatening COVID that “they’ll be fine”. And I certainly wish I could tell my fellow staff who are already at breaking point, who are buckling in for what amounts to round 4 where I’m at thet “they’ll be fine”.

      I hope the Euros, Wimbledon and the F1 are all worth it.

      1. Can’t figure it like that, depends on a variety of factors and this is just something we have to live with, lockdowns do not work and pretending this is as deadly as Ebola or something is just as harmful. Get the vaccine, live your life, society must move on, it’s not going away and living in fear of this in perpetuity is just as harmful as the virus.

        1. Blanky, that is a really cold-blooded philosophy you have there.

      2. @jblank – what do you mean “you can’t figure it like that” Jason? @Mouse_nightshirt just described the reality of what is going on in hospitals right now, since they work their asses off with the staff to keep as many people out of the death statistics?

        What is it worth to clap for our health care staff when we then take steps that add on yet another phase of endless overtime, stress and fear for their patients (and themselves and their family to an extent, although vaccination will have helped a lot in that aspect)?

    2. @jblank 5 hospitals are currently shut to non-emergency procedures due to COVID patients needing the beds. Greater Manchester is monitoring because it thinks it might have to impose that measure on its entire hospital cluster soon. Good reason to believe that pressure is going to worsen. (Bear in mind that some of the COVID patients needing beds are experiencing Long COVID that is no longer manageable outside of hospital, or sequelae of initially-non-hospitalising COVID – the case explosion resulting in more initial-infection hospitalisations isn’t the whole story here).

      Lockdowns have proven the most effective tool we have to keep people alive and at least some of the economy working apart from vaccines – and the two can be used at the same time. It looks like in the UK at least, they’ll end up being used together whether the government wants to or not. If anything, the last few weeks have shown that it is not locking down enough for the situation that exists that doesn’t work.

  9. Some countries are on track with fighting against it, some are lagging behind.

  10. I’m kind of surprised someone like Zak Brown hasn’t got a vaccine yet.

    1. Unless he his himself an antivax I just don’t get it. Every one one pit lane should be vaccinated by now FFS! He is US citizen and we have had mass vaccination for months, we now vaccinating all the way to young kids at the corner Drug store for free and without appointment. What’s wrong with him?

      1. The UK (where Zak lives and where he’s more likely to have actually been vaccinated, if he didn’t accept Bahrain’s pre-season offer) has been using strict age bands to access vaccines, and has had a higher vaccination rate than the USA. These facts combined mean that the 18-30 crowd only got access to their first dose 2 weeks ago, thus none of them can have dose #2 for another fortnight (even that is due to a very recent change in minimum permitted dosing gaps) and won’t be fully protected for another 5 weeks.

        The calendar will not have made it any easier for UK people to get vaccinated, either – if for any reason Zak could only get his second dose after the latest triple-header, it won’t have fully kicked in yet.

    2. Being vaccinated does not prevent you from getting COVID, you can still get it (and more importantly pass it on to others), you just don’t have a severe case of it.

      1. Good point there @dbradock. Could well be that he is feeling perfectly fine since the vaccine protects him, but since he would be able to spread it, F1 takes care not to allow them into the paddock.

    3. Delta variant (the most common in the UK) features partial vaccine escape.

  11. Did they even feel a thing?

  12. The entire F1 contingent had an opportunity to get vaccinated when they travelled to the early season testing and races in the Gulf Region.
    There is no excuse for not taking up the opportunity to solve the problem before it occurred.
    The current infection rates in Canada are showing around 95% of new infections are non-vaccinated individuals. Maybe, just maybe, there is a message there.
    In McLaren’s case, wonder how Ron Dennis would have handled the situation.?

    1. Bold of you to assume that Zak hasn’t been vaccinated?

      You state 95% of infections are non-vaccinated people. Another way of writing that is 5% are vaccinated.
      Nothing to stop Zak being part of that 5%.

    2. @rekibsn , oople, especially when Delta’s stats are more like 70 / 30 due to partial vaccine escape.

    3. I don’t think you have a grasp on how these things really work.

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