LONDON (REUTERS) – Formula One reported 10 positive Covid-19 tests over the Russian Grand Prix weekend but said on Friday (Oct 2) that the teams were unaffected.
The sport said 1,822 people had been tested between Sept 25 and Oct 1 and those who were found to be positive were all ancillary personnel.
“Those cases have been managed quickly and effectively without impacting the event,” it said in a statement.
“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.”
It was the highest number of positives from testing so far. The previous Sept 18-24 period showed seven, six of them ancillary employees such as cleaners or caterers.
The Russian race in Sochi was the first with a substantial crowd in attendance. Organisers said 30,000 people visited the Olympic Park each day.
The first eight races of the season were held behind closed doors, before some 2,800 fans per day were allowed at the Tuscan Grand Prix at Italy’s Mugello circuit.
Most, if not all, of the remaining seven races of the season are expected to have fans in attendance.
While paddock access requires a negative test, and only essential staff and teams are allowed in, there was some concern about safety away from the circuit in Sochi.
“In Russia, wearing a mask isn’t mandatory,” motorsport.com quoted Haas’ French driver Romain Grosjean as saying last weekend.
“Waiters do, but don’t cover their noses. There are many fans at the hotel, so we sometimes find ourselves sharing an elevator with people from outside the F1 bubble. That’s not something I’m super comfortable with.”
Racing Point’s Mexican Sergio Perez is so far the only driver to contract the virus, missing two races in August.