The question that many have been asking these days seems to finally have an answer and is probably not what many expected: Formula 1 will not stop again if a member of the paddock is found positive for Covid-19 . The information was confirmed in an interview given to the French newspaper L’Equipe by the FIA Medical Commission President, Professor Gérard Saillant.
The Australian Grand Prix, which should have taken place in mid-March, was cancelled due to the positivity of an employee of McLaren present in Melbourne. “The situation has evolved from Australia” – Saillant explained – “we have provided a rapid response device to confirm the diagnosis, isolate and test people who have come into contact with a positive case. For me, the Grand Prix would not be canceled. It is as if I were saying that the subway is being closed because a passenger has been found positive”- Gérard Saillant, one of the foremost specialists in sports medicine and spinal surgery, added.
Professor Gerard Saillant then highlighted how each Grand Prix will have its specific component from the point of view of health prevention, depending on the situation and the risks present: “Each country has different regulations and the situation of the circuit and hotels will also influence the rules of confinement. If the track is in a provincial area, things are different than if it is in the middle of the city. Singapore or Vietnam would have a completely different medical organization if they were to organize the race at this moment” – Gerard Saillant continued – “The Singapore government could force the entire paddock to remain isolated for two weeks before the track can be accessed. For Austria, it’s different. The country is emerging from the crisis which, at home, has been relatively moderate. In this safe country, the rule of the game would be to do something in an even safer paddock.”
Formula One’s plan, which had already been expressed by Ross Brawn, is to create a sort of biosphere for the Grands Prix. According to Professor Gerard Saillant, the strategy is very good: “All these precautions would allow for between 1,000 and 2,000 people to be on the circuit, for whom maximum safety measures will be taken. We are currently strengthening a great collaboration with the international Red Cross in order to have, in addition to the usual medical coverage, special staff. The tests that are done today may not be the same in July. There is talk of ever faster tests on saliva to avoid immobilizing 1,000 people, of kits with results in a few minutes” – he concluded.