LONDON — Formula One races won’t be canceled if a driver tests positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) or if a team withdraws, CEO Chase Carey says.
F1 wants to avoid a repeat of the Australia season opener, which was canceled when the McLaren team withdrew two days ahead of the March 15 race after a staff member tested positive for the virus.
The season is now set to start with two races in Austria on July 5 and 12.
“A team not being able to race wouldn’t cancel the race,” Carey said on the F1 website Tuesday. “I don’t think I could sit here and lay out the consequences. But we will have a procedure in place that finding infection will not lead to a cancellation. If a driver has an infection, (teams have) reserve drivers available.”
F1 teams have a tougher time returning to competition than teams in many other sports because of the dozens of people who usually travel to a race and the regular international journeys involved.
Carey said team members will be tested for the coronavirus before they depart for a race and then every two days. Teams will live in a “bubble” system, likely with “sub bubbles” to keep people apart if they do different jobs, he added.
“Clearly we recognize our sport is one which at times, we can’t have 2 meters between every individual on a team,” he said. “When a car pulls into a pit and has to change four tires, there won’t be 2 meters between every individual. We need to make sure we have procedures to manage all those risks as soon as possible.”