Relaxed Covid testing regime at F1 grands prix "not a player" - Ferrari
Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies is adamant Formula 1 is not playing a dangerous game by relaxing on-site Covid-19 testing from every two days to five.
It had long been suggested that for safeguarding the 800 staff across the 10 F1 teams that will be attending grands prix, and for the hundreds of others present, including those from the FIA, circuit personnel and marshals, that testing would take place every two days.
It has since been decided, however, testing will now be done every five days. Cynically, it could be suggested that F1 and the FIA are attempting to avoid announcing a positive test during a race weekend.
But speaking during a video conference with selected media, including GPFans, Mekies said: "No, it's very far from that. There will be tests during the grand prix weekend if anybody has symptoms.
"Having followed as a team all these iterations, there have been 20 versions of our procedures, and because it's a fast-changing environment, and in trying to find the right compromise, we think we are operating well above any national or employment law with the procedures that been set out by the FIA and F1.
"Yes, we did talk about testing every two days at some stage, but it's been relaxed to five days. I think you will see other iterations of the protocol in the coming weeks, I hope in the same direction of relaxing some of these things.
"But if you look at the big picture, we are operating in such a long way to being as safe as possible, that the change between two and five days is not a player."
Mekies has confirmed other procedures will be strict, primarily involving the 'bubbles-within-bubbles' concept.
"The Formula 1 paddock will be a bubble in such a way that the same restrictions, the same procedures will be applied to everybody that turns up there," added Mekies.
"Inside the bubble of the Formula 1 paddock will be an individual bubble for each team with pretty much no, or minimum interactions between one team and another. So you will not see people from a team having a casual chat with people from another team.
"And inside the team bubble there will be more bubbles - the car 16 bubble [Charles Leclerc] and the car 5 bubble [Sebastian Vettel] - and inside them engineers and mechanics and so on and so so forth.
"Why? In order to be as resilient as possible if there is, unfortunately, a positive case to ensure the number of people that came into contact with that individual is as minimal as possible."
Other measures include a pre-departure health screening, with a doctor's certificate required to prove a person is fit to attend, a PCR test less than four days prior to departure, daily temperature checks on arrival at the paddock, compulsory use of masks as is practicably possible, and the use of a tracing app.
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