Ferrari drivers urge vigilance against Covid but Sainz “in two minds” over restrictions

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr say drivers must be cautious to avoid exposure to Covid-19 after Sebastian Vettel became the latest among them to test positive for the virus.

Aston Martin announced on Thursday morning that Nico Hulkenberg would race in place of Vettel this weekend after he returned a positive test for Covid. It is the second positive test for a race driver in seven days. Daniel Ricciardo missed last week’s test after also returning a positive result.

Entering into the third full season where race weekends are affected by protocols set by Formula 1 to limit the potential spread of the highly contagious virus within the paddock, Sainz says that he is remaining vigilant about the virus, but admits the constant restrictions are beginning to take a toll.

“I’m trying to stay as disciplined as I was two years ago, and I’m pushing for it,” said Sainz.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s tiring. It’s tough, after two years, to still do the same things. Some things I’ve gotten used to, some things I still struggle with – like to wear the mask at all times and all that.”

Sainz says he is caught “in two minds” over whether he feels that the stringent protocols in the paddock are still necessary heading into the 2022 season.

“I just hope we can keep going back to normality as soon as possible, because – it might be a bit controversial – but I still think we need to kind of move on a bit and get on with life,” Sainz explained.

“It’s unfortunate for the other drivers and it could be me at any point. But at the same time, it’s really tough to stay as disciplined as we’ve always been. Obviously, if I have an opportunity to fight for bigger things this year, I will need to be.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“I am in two minds, as you can see. At the same time, I want everyone to move on and stop thinking a bit too much about Covid, let’s say. I’m in two minds. I’m 50-50.”

Sainz’s Ferrari team mate Charles Leclerc, who caught Covid twice last year, says drivers still have to remain cautious about the virus when a positive test can see drivers prevented from racing during a grand prix weekend.

“As much as things are slowly getting a bit more to the normality, there are still some precautions that we need to take,” said Leclerc.

“We need to be more cautious. Also in between drivers and all of these things, because Covid has not disappeared from one day to another. And still, now if you have Covid, you cannot race. So it’s very costly. We still need to be very careful.”

Despite the restrictions in the paddock being lightly relaxed for this season, Leclerc says that Ferrari are keeping a “common sense” approach to the coronavirus.

“Ferrari wants us to be tested quite regularly, especially once we go to the factory, et cetera,” he said.

“Now, during the race weekends, it’s a little bit less strict compared to last year, but obviously there’s also common sense in the team. Whenever someone feels unwell, we straight away try and stay away and then we test each other.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

Browse all 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

8 comments on “Ferrari drivers urge vigilance against Covid but Sainz “in two minds” over restrictions”

  1. I’m sick of these restrictions too. But someone in my office just died of COVID, which was a shock. Cases are increasing again in China and elsewhere. So I’m wary of letting off a little too early even though it’s really exhausting to keep doing these things.

    1. Oh, jeez, yeah that really presses the importance of measures onto on @dmw. Agree that the numbers seem to be stalling at best and getting worse again in some places now, especially since many countries have all but ditched most measures.

      I will certainly keep the distancing, mask use etc. for now, better be on the safe side

  2. No idea what’s exhausting about wearing a mask. Even for an old, overweight dude who smoked for most of his life (me), it’s been a minor inconvinience at worst. Absolutely going to keep wearing one during flu season in the future – haven’t been sick for more than 2 years now thanks to quality FFP2 masks.

    1. Apparently empathy is an exhausting activity for these same people too. Keep well!

    2. No idea what’s exhausting about wearing a mask

      If the mask is well put – not like Hulk in another topic…- it is exausting, and worse you are breathing more air that you have already expelled than in normal conditions. It is also bad for children development.
      There are no justifications for current restrictions. Everyone should get Covid in controlled maner and if Vettel can drive he should drive.

    3. @kuvemar

      Fogging up glasses is an issue, but it also makes communication much harder.

  3. Broccoliface
    17th March 2022, 14:57

    If this is starting to move into the endemic phase for the next decade or 3, then we’ll need to decide whether we’ll be carrying on like this for a few generations, or take the plunge at some point and move to treating it like an influenza around the paddock. Its not like the broad circumstances will be any different for the 2023, ’25 or ’27 seasons.

    1. Indeed. I think drivers who test positive should be allowed to just race if they want, as long as the country’s laws allow it.

Comments are closed.