F1 has confirmed the first batch of tests conducted ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix for COVID-19 have all returned negative results.

Between June 26th and July 2nd, 4032 drivers, teams and personnel underwent tests for the virus, which has wreaked havoc on motorsport schedules around the world and forced F1 to delay its opening round until this weekend.

The 2020 F1 season was due to kick off in March just as COVID-19 was beginning to make its mark globally, but a handful of positive tests among team members ultimately forced it to cancel the Australian Grand Prix on the eve of the event.

 

 

In order to get F1 back up and running the sport will subject all members travelling to the Red Bull Ring to strict tests every few days, with measures in place to ensure social distancing is met within the paddock and to isolate those who test positive.

“The FIA and Formula 1 are providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency,” F1 confirmed. “No specific details as to teams or individuals will be provide.

On Friday, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl confirmed McLaren – which reported the first positive tests in Melbourne – had been passed as negative.

“We were flying out with the team on Wednesday morning, straight to the airport next to the track and then as you know the entire team got tested straight away to get here at the track after all the negative tests which we did already on Monday in the UK.

“The results were again all negative which is good so now we can simply get straight into it and then after we had quite a calm day yesterday preparing the cars, everything went to plan.

“Obviously also yesterday we were working within all these new regulations in terms of social distancing, wearing the masks and so on.”

Seidl have confirmed that should a team member test positive for COVID-19, it has a contingencies in place to ensure the team can continue operating without significant impact.

“In terms of the working procedures around the garage, obviously we did a lot of dry training the last four weeks back home with the guys, simply to get used to it and to get an idea to how long different changes - setup changes, not just the repair, how long they would take during a session.

“The way we work in the garage is that we have built a lot of sub-groups. I think we have more than 20 subgroups within the team to make sure in the case that one guy who gets infected by the virus, we will still somehow have it under control so it wouldn’t wipe out the whole team.

“So it is a challenge so it would slow down the jobs we have in the garage but at the same time it still allows us to put on a good show and get the sessions done.”

 

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