F1 on alert as positive COVID-19 results in paddock begin to grow

Ten 'ancillary personnel' in F1 test positive for COVID-19 for the highest number of cases the sport has recorded since the 2020 F1 season began in July
Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point F1 Team RP19.
Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point F1 Team RP19.
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F1 has confirmed ten personnel within the sport have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past few days, a week after the sport visited Sochi for the Russian Grand Prix.

It is the highest number of cases during a single week F1 has experienced since it began its rigorous testing practices in order to get the belated 2020 F1 season underway in July. Previously the highest number of cases was seven positive returns.

Though F1 did not disclose who had been affected other than confirming it was ‘ancillary personnel’, TV broadcaster and journalist Will Buxton revealed on his social media accounts that he has tested positive and is resting at home. 

The small but still significant spike will put F1 bosses on alert as it comes after the sport welcomed back a substantial number of spectators for the first time this year in Sochi, where those present noted masks were not mandatory and measures such as social distancing were not universally adopted.

Nonetheless, F1 says its own special measures intended to guard paddock personnel - which includes keeping them well clear of outside contact both in the paddock and within their own teams - through the use of so called ‘bubbles’ remain intact and there was no risk to teams, drivers and the like in Russia.

“Those cases have been managed quickly and effectively without impacting the event. The presence of fans has not affected that situation as the public was not allowed to enter the F1 bubble as per our protocol in force."

Even so, this news does come as various nations grapple with the dubbed ‘second wave’, a common occurrence in pandemics when measures put in place during the first period wane enough to allow it to return significantly again.

However, this is currently varied depending on the nation with countries like the UK and France preventing gatherings - such as sport events - on these grounds. 

By contrast though, Italy - badly affected first time around - has swerved the worst of the second wave so far, to the extent 13,000 spectators will be permitted to attend the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola.

To date, Racing Point’s Sergio Perez is the only F1 driver to have been diagnosed with coronavirus, forcing him to miss the two Silverstone F1 rounds.

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