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F1 medical car driver Van der Merwe expected to miss end of season

F1 medical car driver Van der Merwe expected to miss end of season

F1 News

F1 medical car driver Van der Merwe expected to miss end of season

F1 medical car driver Van der Merwe expected to miss end of season
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

FIA medical car driver Alan van der Merwe is expected to miss the final races of 2021 after his recent positive Covid test.

Van der Merwe and fellow medical car incumbent Dr Ian Roberts missed the Turkish Grand Prix after testing positive for Covid-19, with former racer Van der Merwe already testing positive earlier in the year.

As an unvaccinated member of the paddock, van der Merwe looks set to miss the rounds in Qatar and Saudi Arabia with proof of vaccination required to enter both countries, whilst a similar necessity is expected to require access to the paddock in Abu Dhabi.

"I guess one of the parts is, like when you got to any country, from what we understand there is a couple of countries that you probably won’t be allowed to enter the country unless you’re vaccinated which is no different to I some parts of the world, malaria shots or whatever it might be," explained FIA race director Michael Masi.

“You need to comply with those requirements to enter the country and from that perspective, the FIA has to respect the countries requirements to get in, as will all the teams and everyone else.”

FIA explains contingency plan

Dr Roberts and Van der Merwe were replaced last weekend by Formula E's medical car partnership of Bruno Correia and Dr Bruno Franceschini.

Masi explained that the closeness of the relationship between all FIA race directors allows for ease of substitution in extraordinary circumstances, such as a positive Covid test.

"The good part is that having spoken to both Alan and Ian multiple times over the weekend is that they are relatively okay and have both been available all weekend on the end of a phone or whatever is needed to help Doctor Bruno and Bruno in their acclimatisation to this world," added Masi.

“Generally we are very fortunate that in all of the various FIA championships, all of us race directors talk very regularly.

“We have seen Eduardo Freitas who obviously is the WEC race director as clerk of the course in Portimao. Scot Elkin and Niels Wittich who are the Formula E race director and deputy doing a number of events as my deputy.

“So all of us working together is actually a regular thing and it’s the same with the doctors.

"Bruno Correia was actually one of our driver advisors in F2 and F3 this year so effectively it’s the broad family and it was great for both of them to be available at short notice and they are always our first reserves in the case of something like that happening which none of us ever wish.”

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