Driver group photo, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

Is it time to let F1 drivers race on after catching Covid?

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Two Formula 1 drivers tested positive for Covid-19 within a week in Bahrain, leaving one under-prepared for the first race of the season and the other unable to take part at all.

The news prompted some drivers to call for the right to decide for themselves if they are fit enough to race, should they become infected. Missing race weekends means missing important championship points, after all. But there would be further implications if driver were allowed to choose to race or not, which could potentially bring extra risk to those around them.

For 2022, the third season since the outbreak began, the FIA have relaxed their Covid-19 protocols. PCR tests are now strongly advised ahead of the first race weekend of the year, but not mandatory to enter the paddock. Of course, local guidelines must still be followed in each country F1 visits.

During the height of the pandemic, teams were sealed away and press were not allowed into the paddock, with everything taking place via the internet, including the press conferences. Races ran behind closed doors and grandstands were empty.

Now the majority of teams have returned to in-person media sessions rather than relying on videoconferencing. The requirements of wearing masks and social distancing have become more relaxed.
Although limited numbers of fans were able to return at a handful of events at the end of 2020, Formula 1 has taken longer than many sports to find its ‘new normal’. But any illusion that we are fully back to normal was shattered in the build-up to the first race of 2022.

Perez was the first F1 driver to catch Covid
First up was McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who missed out on three days of testing. Sebastian Vettel tested positive a few days later, ruling the Aston Martin driver out of the season-opener.

But Covid affects individuals differently, and during the grand prix weekend some drivers suggested the FIA should consider allowing them to decide if they are well enough to race or not. Sergio Perez, who missed two races last season after testing positive, said “it’s something that we should discuss, whether we allow the drivers to race with Covid, if the symptoms are mild.”

“These days if you’re feeling bad, obviously the drivers can be the judge, but I think it makes sense to have a discussion.”

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jnr has managed to avoid Covid so far, and admitted he feels conflicted over how far the restrictions should be loosened: “It is tiring and it is tough for two years to still do the same things,” he said. “Some things I got used to, some things I still struggle with, like to wear the mask at all times.

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“I just hope we can get back to normality as soon as possible because – it might be a bit controversial – but I think that we need to kind of move on a bit and get on with life. It’s unfortunate for the other drivers, and it could be me at some point.”

What it might mean for Sainz’s championship chances was also on his mind. “It’s really tough to stay as disciplined as we’ve always been,” he continued. “Obviously if I have the chance to fight for bigger things this year, I will need to be but I am in two minds.

“At the same time, I want everyone to move on and to stop thinking about Covid. I’m in two minds, I’m 50-50.”

F1’s points system once allowed drivers to ‘drop’ their worst results over a season, meaning they did not count towards their final tally. It was last used when Ayrton Senna won the 1990 world championship, when drivers counted their best 11 scores from 16 races.

If such a system was reintroduced it would reduce the negative impact of missing a race due to Covid. But the group of drivers RaceFans put that suggestion too were not keen on the idea.

Webber threw up in his car at Fuji in 2007
“Obviously we had that in the past and it wasn’t great. I think as everybody else said, no, I wouldn’t like this,” said Charles Leclerc.

The mindset of a driver is that, whatever happens, they want to race. The chances of a driver admitting they do not want to race because of an illness are slim to none.

Mark Webber threw up in his car while suffering from a stomach bug at the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix. The Australian spent the first few laps of the race vomiting into his helmet, but told the team, “I’m going to try and stay out, I’m being sick in the car but I’ll see how I go.”

Just last year Perez was ill for much of the weekend at the United States Grand Prix but raced on. Making matters worse, his drinks system failed on Sunday, leaving him “losing strength” for the entire grand prix, which he called his “toughest race ever physically.”

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Lewis Hamilton caught Covid-19 in 2020, missing a race, and suffering its after-effects long into the beginning of last season. He said he could never have raced an F1 car while he was positive.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
F1’s Covid rules will be relaxed further, Wolff expects
“If we all stop wearing our masks and everyone in the garage gets it, everyone’s going to be sick and it will affect people differently,” the seven-times champion pointed out. “Some people don’t even know they have it and some people get really ill.

“So it’s better to just not take the risk. There was no way I could have raced when I had it. I was very, very sick.”

However several team principals believe we will see Covid-positive drivers being allowed to race eventually. “I think it very much will get to a stage at some point where it will come down to his physical condition,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “It’ll be no different to any other virus that you could pick up.” Haas’s Gunther Steiner also added that it should be “treated as a flu” in the future.

Even Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who caught Covid in January last year, agreed. “Covid is going to be seen as a flu that you can judge yourself, whether you want to go to work or not. So I believe that in the next few weeks, we are going to see a pattern that Formula 1 will follow.”

With the world learning to live with Covid-19, it seems the drivers may soon get their wish. Yet as long as Covid poses a threat to some, the logistics of how they could race with the virus would have to be solved.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Hamilton said he couldn’t have raced with Covid
But with race suits, balaclavas and helmets already giving some coverage, this may be manageable. “If there is a sport that I think you can compete without spreading the virus too much or at least zero, I think it is Formula 1,” Sainz observed.

Yet, it becomes problematic if drivers are putting themselves in direct risk of danger in the hope of gaining more championship points whilst racing ill. Can the onus be put solely on an F1 driver to make the decision, of course with the doctor’s approval, when their goal is ultimately always going to be to race no matter what?

It remains to be seen whether Vettel will return for Saudi Arabia. Hopefully he’s fit and well again soon.

His experience will provide useful input into the debate over racing with the virus. But despite the two recent positive cases, it seems more and more drivers want to have the choice to race with Covid.

Positive Covid-19 cases among F1 drivers

DateIndividual/sTeam/otherNotes
30/07/2020Sergio PerezRacing PointMissed British and 70th Anniversary grands prix
21/10/2020Lance StrollRacing PointMissed Eifel Grand Prix
1/12/2020Lewis HamiltonMercedesMissed Sakhir Grand Prix
5/1/2021Lando NorrisMcLaren
13/1/2021Charles LeclercFerrari
31/1/2021Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri
4/9/2021Kimi RaikkonenAlfa RomeoMissed two races
12/12/2021Nikita MazepinHaasMissed Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
16/12/2021Charles LeclercFerrariFirst driver to have a second positive test
11/03/2022Daniel RicciardoMcLarenMissed second pre-season test in Bahrain
17/03/2022Sebastian VettelAston MartinMissed Bahrain Grand Prix

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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...

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  • 64 comments on “Is it time to let F1 drivers race on after catching Covid?”

    1. Drivers need to remember they’re part of a team. How many people will they pass it on to if they race whilst infectious?

      Allowing people with covid to race is honestly such a stupid idea you’d think Boris Johnson had a hand in suggesting it.

      1. Although i don’t know who Boris Johnson is I am in the same boat as you. It’s also about other people not just one individual. We are all affected differently. Most of us will go home to families when the job is done.
        Pretty much as Lewis is quoted as saying.

        1. Boris Johnson is the British Prime Minister, who’s been the figurehead for how the British government has chosen to handle COVID. He has developed a reputation for …let’s say “high-risk” approaches to handling the virus.

          1. Thanks Alianora. I know who he is now. I never knew his name though. He’s the guy who looks like he just crawled out of a dumpster. I remember him from the brexit thing.

        2. How can someone not have heard of Boris Johnson lol?

          1. Can’t say I’m not envious of him as I’d rather Johnson stayed in some obscure hole somewhere.

    2. No, I do not think drivers should be the ones to detriment this for themselves at all. I would also say that there are very good reasons why not. I would argue that instead we should find a better way to evaluate a drivers fitness ahead of a race, not just for Covid but also for other infections and health issues.

      First of all there IS a strong issue with potential risk of infection to others, which is the reason for the current procedures. Some of that is paramount to F1 being able to travel the world without much restrictions though countries that are still very strict about their preventive measures.

      But in a larger perspective, we all remember how drivers judged themselves (probably after consultion doctors, physios etc.) able to drive after crashes etc. Perez himself was praised but also bashed by some for stepping out after such an incident when he did not feel well. We know that other drivers who have suffered the same in the past have raced on. But we also know by now that it can pose serious longer term health risks, as well as poses risks for other drivers on track because of lapses of concentration etc can be really dangerous.

      1. I very much agree with you, it is not just about Covid. Maybe it is rather time to move on from the macho view of motorsport and acknowledge that health issues are to be taken seriously. Vomiting in the cockpit may sound brave, but it is something that should NOT happen. In a high-pressure environment, such decisions should not be just up to the person who is under the highest pressure (the driver).

        1. In a high-pressure environment, such decisions should not be just up to the person who is under the highest pressure (the driver).

          Very much agreed. In addition, it should not be up to the most competitive person. Drivers are known to do whatever they can to gain a competitive advantage, so if the choice is between competing or not, they will often push themselves more than is safe, potentially putting others at risk. Safety decisions (other than those which must be made instantly during racing) should not be left in the drivers’, or the teams’, hands.

          1. Yup, that is actually what I had in mind.

          2. @drmouse 100% correct

    3. It’s really too early to be treating COVID like the flu, maybe next year things will be more back to normal, hopefully.

      1. @Drop Sochi We’re in the COVID era’s year 3, so things should return to normal within this year, given how deep into the era we’re. BTW, I like how your username aged well & or inadvertently ended up becoming a prediction.

      2. I don’t know if you plan on living for 500 years or so, but I’ve got maybe 30-40 years left (hopefully) and I’m not willing to have many more ruined over this virus. I’ve had it three times, first time it was like a flu, next two times (omicron) like a mild cold, then like very, very mild cold. I’ve followed all the advice and official measures, but now I’m done with acting like we’re fighting a plague. It’s been years, everyone’s had it at least once or twice, it spreads ultra easily and is present everywhere, what is there to be done? To live like lunatics isolating and hiding, paying for tests every day? Forget about it. Omicron is NOT a dangerous virus, at least not compared to anything we’ve had before COVID-19. That I know from personal experience, experience of all people I know (no exceptions) who’ve had it, and even from official studies.

      3. Covid IS like flu now. It is not any more dangerous than strong seasonal flu. The excess deaths statistics show that very clearly. We’re getting record numbers of infections because it is very contagious, but hospitalizations and deaths are going down. Everybody around me is getting COVID, spending a few days ill and coming out fine. We’re all developing immunity, and frankly in many parts of the world the pandemic is really over. This is all great news.

        Having said that, like any other instance of contagious disease, including flu, if you are ill, you should stay home. Drivers interact with the media and with the team, so it should be a decision between the FIA, FOM and the teams to agree or not if the drivers should be working while having COVID. I think the driver should isolate and recover. That is the reasonable thing to do.

        1. If you’re using the UK excess death statistics, you should be aware that the excess deaths “expected” for winter 2021 are about 2000 people more – when the peak of the winter 2021 deaths were only about 4000 more than the then-expected number of deaths. In the last two weeks, the excess deaths nearly hit the raised level of expectation. Hospitalisations have been going up for the last 3 weeks and deaths rose last week.

        2. Dear Andre It’s ALMOST like the Flu but could be hard for those having problems and/or dying from it. I had Omicron the week before last week but i have still problems with my lungs (short breath) and i am tired often and when i have the flu i DON’T get those symtones when i am cured.

          So i am with Lewis with this….

        3. The excess deaths statistics show that very clearly.

          I haven’t had chance to look at the numbers recently, but IIRC the “base” expected death rate is an average of the past 5(?) years. Therefore, even if the death rate stayed the same, excess deaths would naturally be lower this year because the death rates have been high the past 2, so the expected death rate is higher than it would have been without COVID.

          1. All I’ve seen are compared against the 2015-2019 average. They are excluding the pandemic period for obvious reasons.

            But he is right that it is like the flu now. The estimated IFR, at least for places with high seropositivity, has dipped below that of influenza despite the latter having decades of universal exposure and available antivirals.

        4. Curious if you know anyone who’s had entire sections of their intestines removed, been out of work for almost two years, and now uses a colostomy bag from the flu? Because I know people this has happened to from COVID. The scale that this pandemic will be a mass disabling event will horrifying and massive, and we have only just glimpsed the tip of the iceberg of the longterm health effects. The chorus of “it’s just the flu” was rancid from the start, and will be staggeringly ghoulish once the constellation of lifelong health issues becomes widely known.

          1. imagine if there was no lockdowns, social distancing, face masks or vaccines… everyone would get sick at the same time, and imagine the deaths and overflowing hospitals. but yeh, they think its just another flu to the ideologically opposed, antivaxxers and conspiracy theorists.

    4. Letting the drivers decide is like letting an alcoholic decide whether he is fit for a drink or not. Come on, its only racing, if you are sick stay home, think of other people than yourself. People working on the track maybe have family members that are in a risk group or similar.

      1. Correct, I know some drunks can drive well enough but 99% can’t.

    5. Depending on which country you’re in, we’re appearing to be on the cusp of endemic instead of pandemic. Which does make this question relevant as far as I’m concerned. At which point do we stop treating covid as a threat to society and move to the next phase?

      I find this question as hard as the drivers in the article, but ultimately, it’s not really up to any of us. F1 races in countries with a variety of rules, I’d say you follow those as you travel and that’s the end of that story. There will come a point where certain countries will not have an isolation rule for Covid-positives anymore, and there will be a point where no country will have such a rule anymore. Just let it play out.

      1. endemic instead of pandemic

        But even when ‘endemic’, and fully opening up society, it might be wise to quarantine ’patients’ as we do with some other highly contagious diseases.

        1. Precisely. Smallpox was endemic, but people were still expected to stay away from others and not spread it around when they caught it. Something being endemic does not mean there isn’t a risk.

          1. Not sure you can make an equivalency with something that had a 30% death rate, but sure.

            1. My point is that just because something is endemic does not make it safe, and does not make it acceptable to ignore the fact that you are spreading it to others when you have it.

              TBH IMHO this applies to colds, flu, and other diseases too. They may not normally be life threatening, but they make people feel horrible, make them miss out on things they could otherwise be doing, and generally are inflicts misery on them. If you are infectious, stay away from people (wherever possible) until you aren’t. Doing otherwise is, frankly, selfish.

              (Note, I realise that many don’t have good enough sick pay to do so, and there are other good reasons not to isolate. For pay, this is where employers and governments need to step up. For other reasons… There is unlikely to be anything stopping you wearing a mask to reduce the risk of infecting others, nor to keep times when you are putting people at risk to an absolute minimum.)

      2. @sjaakfoo We can stop treating COVID-19 as a threat to society when it stops being a threat to society. Since it still is, wise people still treat it as a threat to society.

        Malaria’s an endemic threat in some parts of the world, but people still take precautions against it.

    6. Some countries and institutions are letting go testing and replaced it with vaccine mandates which moronic since four times vaccinated can still spreading the virus.

      Yes, we still could spreading virus when the PCR test is negative because of incubation period after getting infected. And yes, we can’t spreading the virus after recover from covid even when the resulted positive because PCR test detect inactive virus remains. And also yes, covid positive doesn’t mean you are sick.

      So it’s up to FIA to decide how to deal with that. Not drivers.

      1. Some countries and institutions are letting go testing and replaced it with vaccine mandates which moronic since four times vaccinated can still spreading the virus.

        It’s as ‘moronic’ as ordering Russian Roulette to be played with blanks only.
        People can still die or end up in hospital, but overall a lot less.

        But then again, maybe it’s up to the individual to decide if their natural immune system can cope with the original Russian Roulette challenge.

        1. Blanks can sometimes kill thanks to blunt force trauma.

      2. do you understand how vaccinations work? yes you can spread vaccinated, that was known for the last hundred years, and is taught to 10 year olds at school. but the vaccines help prevent severe illness, and that is EXACTLY what they are achieving with covid.

    7. No, I think it’s really irresponsible to be out there spreading the virus to less fit people such as team members, marshals, press, fans and locals the driver might run into. Even if you’re feeling fine, you still have the virus and other can catch it from you and then spread it further to people they meet.

      I also think it’s a bad idea in terms or risk to the driver. Covid symptoms can change quickly for someone who’s been feeling fine for a few days, there’s a lot of evidence for that. One of the reasons why we feel sick when we’re ill is that the body is mobilising its resources to fight the disease. If you instead choose to use those resources for a high performance endurance athletic feat, your body might end up wanting when it needs those resources.

      All in all it’s a bad precedent to let something like this happen. Yes, it’s unfortunate that you’re missing a race. That can happen to anyone. However, that doesn’t justify putting others at risk. Not to mention that it looks bad from the privileged position of an F1 driver. If anything, drivers should be an example how to behave responsibly while still carrying on with their jobs and lives.

    8. Broccoliface
      23rd March 2022, 8:40

      It’s becoming endemic and will be with us for decades. We will have to say yes at some point, once we realise it’s not what it was in 20 and 21. Maybe this strain, maybe the next or a sub-strain. But the plaster will have to come off and we’ll have to deal with being around something akin to another seasonal influenza like big boys. Likely with a limited booster program for the elderly and infirm, though if they could catch it soon after a booster dose then that would be beneficial for their long term immunity levels as well. In the UK it’s in 3-5% of everyone each week. Soon enough we’ll all be so naturally immunised the fatalities will drop even more and I guess that will be when we see movement on issues like this. The excess mortality graph is also back down now suggesting in many cases it’s “deaths with” not “deaths due to”. Considering its infectivity has increased to near-measles levels I’d agree with that conclusion.

      1. If “natural immunity” worked, re-infections wouldn’t happen. A quick glance at the main article suggests that they do, and therefore the theory does not work.

        “Excess mortality”, at least in the UK, had a revised calculation – the “expected level” in winter 2022 was suspiciously halfway between the “expected level” at the same time last year and the actual 2021 death level. Also, a round of boosters got put in during the autumn, which reduced severity of infections. Even so, in the last two weeks, the excess death level nearly hit it. This indicates wave 4 of deaths is about to start and that even the statistics can’t hide it much longer.

        1. Reinfections happen, but there was a strange amount of bad faith concerning natural immunity.

          Some were very quick to defend vaccines despite breakthrough cases, even as their efficacy dipped below 50% and now to 0% with Omicron, while a few breakthroughs were considered proof it “doesn’t work” despite the odds ratio being massively below that of a breakthrough case following 2 and even 3 mRNA doses.

          1. what on earth are you talking about. the vaccines are not 0% efficacy. In every country around the world, there is statistics that show the unvaccinated are FAR more likely to end up in hospital, in ICU and also Die than the vaccinated.

        2. Of course natural immunity works, it doesn’t need to be bulletproof and forever to give good protection against serious illness. everything wanes eventually, but rolling reinfections will see us all plagued with less severe symptoms as our immune systems are constantly pinged and maintain higher levels of protection. Get it out of a bottle and get some protection for a couple of months or keep encountering it naturally and get much better protection from serious symptoms for much longer. I’ll revisit this when your doom-mongering nth wave materialises (or not).

    9. Personally, I do not think it is safe to drop all precautions yet. Even the most recent, mildest strains have been known to kill people who seemed perfectly fit and healthy. This is not “just the flu”.

      Right now, I see 2 sensible options (ignoring local regulations).

      The first is to carry on as we are, with few restrictions on most but a requirement to isolate if you have COVID.

      The other is to allow anyone to compete, regardless of test results, as long as they are not showing symptoms. The health of the drivers and their fitness to race should be decided by medical professionals (for all ailments, not just COVID). Allowing someone to continue racing while vomiting in their helmet is not safe, puts them and other drivers at risk, and should not be allowed. However, in order to protect everyone in this case, we would have to go back to the strict social distancing of 2020, with no face-to-face media, strict bubbles with no mixing in the garages etc.

      I don’t think anyone wants the second option, even if it was realistic to do so with all the various local restrictions around the world. IMHO, the current system of keeping those with the virus away from everyone is the most viable and sensible.

      There may come a time that even this can be changed. It may even be later this season. But IMHO that time is not now.

      1. @drmouse We basically have 2) at the moment, minus the social distancing, since there’s no requirement to test unless local regulations require it. Which means that non-visibly-symptomatic carriers (or people who can pass it off as/fool themselves into thinking there’s a non-COVID cause) have no reason to do the test that would identify them as such, even if they’re suffering symptoms that are themselves disqualifying to be in the car.

    10. For the vast majority of people covid is becoming like a mild cold, especially since Omicron. Many have had the virus at least once, some have caught it twice and recovered fine. Whether we approve or not, its going to be left upto the team and driver at some point..

      1. You’re only talking about the initial symptoms, many of those *mild* cases will go on to experience lifelong health complications, and the severity of the initial illness is not a predictor of the severity of those health effects.

    11. Can you trust a driver’s judgement on anything? Just read a few lines of a typical team radio transcript…
      Accepting the risks of driving a race car is one thing, but carrying and spreading any form of disease is a much worse level of selfishness.

      And occasional driver changes refresh the line-up and add interest. Maybe not this time, but look at the consequences of Lewis’s positive test.

      1. On some things, yes. Even, in some cases, on whether they’re fit enough to race. Just not in an instance where irrationality is one of the symptoms of the thing that’s potentially disqualifying them.

        1. If Webber was throwing up in his helmet while driving at high speed, but chose to continue while doing so, I don’t think that’s a good indication that they can be trusted to decide for themselves… It’s really lucky he didn’t cause an accident!

          1. also lucky he didnt have an anuerysm or stroke or some panic attack… lots could have gone wrong, blacking out at 300kmh would not be fun.

    12. No.

      Next question.

    13. Yes. Absolutely.
      1. A person is most contagious for 2 days prior to feeling ill so the quarantine is closing the barn door after the animals have gotten out.
      2. Each iteration of a virus is more transmissible but less dangerous than the prior version.
      3. We keep being told how effective the vaccinations and boosters are but by the comments above and the reaction of policy makers, NO ONE believes that. I am a vax believer so I must be protected and the rest of the vaccinated are protected.
      4. In the US, state and federal governments have been quietly changing the covid death counts lower. In Massachusetts, the numbers went from 22,000 to 18,000. The US totals for child deaths were also reduced by 25%. These are just the first reductions.
      5. People that are at risk need to take more precautions.

      1. @jimfromus Some error correction:
        1. On F1’s original system, there was regular testing of people even if they had no symptoms and no reason to think they were. 3 days might have been better than 5, but it was using PCR testing, which until the current variants was reliably picking up cases within 48 hours of infection (and 1-3 days before symptoms were first detected).

        2. In theory, viruses do trend towards “more transmissible and less dangerous”. Any given virus is not guaranteed to do this at each step, and COVID’s had some retrograde steps – most famously Delta, which was the prevalent cause of death in the USA until a few weeks ago.

        3. The two sentences contradict each other, no further comment required.

        4. Yes, unfortunately some governments have been trying to hide the consequences of COVID for various reasons. Not sure how much detail it’s appropriate to go into on a F1 site, but there are definitely cases that some officials would prefer not to count.

        5. Everyone’s at risk.

      2. lol, none of what you wrote is fact but rather an oppinion. There is a lot of Americans oppionated against the truth of how bad covid is, they tend to be republicans lol

    14. I have it right now. 3rd time positive. At least 5 x i’ve had it. I have no symptoms. I took the test as a client requires it but they are dropping it next week as its causing huge issues. These are fit and healthy guys who’ve had the jab and most likely covid. Look at the stats of who (vast majority) gets ill and hospitalized, the very old and those not vaccinated.

      The UK has 100k cases a day ( reported) and we are carrying on as normal. No one has to isolate, just use common sense. Id say f1 does the same

      1. Not only the old and those vaccinated are hospitalized but the different variants can do different things. Some friends of mine were the first victims from the first version and they are still not alright and talking about myself old but not ancient vaccinated quit healthy but test negative last week and still i am short breathed and get tired more often.

        Be blessed with your recovers but be carefull if your body is slightly weaker you got get it much heavier.

      2. You are one example and lucky you, and you should be the one looking at who is in hospital actually, as it is all ages, and at much higher rates than any flu or cold.

    15. COVID is definitely more dangerous than flu. Those of you saying otherwise might want to look up how many people are turning out to have brain damage after “mild” COVID (still waiting for statistics for those who are up-to-date with vaccinations, but among people who weren’t vaccinated, it got as high as 40%), and how many get Long COVID (even among people with vaccinations up-to-date, it’s 3-4% of the people who catch it). It’s a rare flu/cold strain that causes similar effects at all among people of the sort of age and health bracket who generally work in the paddock, but COVID-19 still does. None of those effects are compatible with working in the F1 paddock.

      “People at risk” is everyone. The degree of risk is different, but it’s fairly obvious that despite multiple governments now trying to pretend otherwise, the risk still exists.

      The rule of “no COVID negative, no paddock entry” needs to be reinstated (and given what I’ve learned recently about the unreliability of lateral flow tests re: current variants, it needs to be PCR). Also, given that one of the symptoms of COVID-19 is irrationality, asking someone who is infected to assess their own ability to race is doubly foolish. Not only is this the person with most to gain by doing the wrong thing, but they may very well accept because of a symptom of the illness that should have disqualified them. It makes as little sense as asking someone with a concussion to self-assess whether they should get back in the car – we stopped doing that in 1998 for multiple reasons, and this was one of them.

    16. In England where I am, while it’s no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate, the official advice is still “stay at home and avoid contact with other people” and “you should not attend work”. I don’t know what the advice in other countries is, but at least for the British Grand Prix, F1 would be going against official, government guidance in allowing drivers to decide for themselves whether or not to race.

      Now, you may or may not agree with that advice, but I don’t think it sets a good example to say F1 is going to do what it wants and ignore what the national/regional health authorities are saying.

    17. As you might know I have always always been against this tragic disease! So do not let drivers race on covid! Please think about the balaclavas!

    18. It should not be ok for drivers to race on. If one knows they have covid they shouldn’t be going to the office, especially if that office involves hundreds of people and multiple countries. I hated it when I was a cook and it was part of the culture to rock up to work no matter how sick you are. It’s irresponsible

    19. RandomMallard
      23rd March 2022, 23:43

      I think this is unlikely in the short term. First of all, as others have mentioned, the possibility of passing it on to team members, staff etc is just too high imo. And add in the fact that it may make marshalls/medics hesitate for a short period before coming to the driver’s aid. And in some situations, even a couple of seconds hesitation could make all the difference.

      Additionally, you’ve got the problem of other countries’ covid rules. While England has ended isolation even for positive tests, I’m not aware (please correct me if I’m wrong) of any/many other countries that F1 visit that have also dropped such restrictions, and I don’t see some of them doing that anytime soon. And it appears granting high level sportspeople exemptions from strict, basic covid rules doesn’t go down with the general population. Ask Novak Djokovic

    20. No way. They are not essential workers. not fair on the rest of the people in the world if some get special treatment over others. That is why Novax Djokovic got beaten up so much by sports fans.

    21. Bobrick McCauley
      24th March 2022, 22:58

      What a monumentally stupid thing to even suggest. I’ve had covid, and know a lot of other who also have, and it affects everyone differently, and is extremely unpredictable. I’ve seen a man over 70 years old with emphysema not only survive, but have absolutely no issues at all from covid, and I’ve also seen a perfectly healthy 21 year old hospitalised from it.

      There’s also the potential for long term adverse health effects, so im baffled how anyone can have such a relaxed attitude about it. It still has the potential to kill or severely affect the health of anybody who catches it, and could end a drivers career if they’re not lucky.

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