Masi: F1 can’t ‘drop the ball’ in fight against COVID-19

FIA race director Michael Masi says he’s proud of how Formula 1 has built up its defenses against COVID-19 but insists the sport cannot afford to “drop the ball” in its fight against the pandemic.

Motorsport’s governing body and F1’s chiefs have devised a series of protocols and procedures with the cooperation of the sport’s teams to safeguard members of the paddock against the coronavirus, with regular testing of the F1 community at the forefront of the protection measures.

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In Hungary, two support personnel, who had not been present in Austria, tested positive for COVID-19 and were immediately removed from the paddock and isolated, with no impact on the race weekend.

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“I think as a sport and as an industry, we should be very proud of what we have achieved over these first three events,” said Masi, quoted by Motorsport.com.

“Considering the time that obviously we’ve had collectively, particularly between the FIA and together with F1 in developing the return to racing plan, the methods, the protocols, the support from everyone about the pit lanes, journalists, support categories, has been fantastic.

“Yes, it’s been a learning experience for all of us. There’s been minor tweaks along the way, but overall, as a process and as a structure, I think we’re about there. I’m proud of what we’ve done.”

F1 director of motorsports Ross Brawn said earlier this month that a positive case was bound to emerge at some point this summer despite the stringent safety and hygiene measures applied to the paddock and the bubble organization that governs each team’s operations.

The two positives tests detected in Hungary confirmed that F1 cannot let its guard down when it comes to its fight to keep the coronavirus at bay, or suddenly become “complacent”.

“There’s certainly a level of confidence. I think one part is not to be complacent, it’s probably the big part,” he said.

“The fact we have got through the first three events with only the two cases, but effectively outside of the paddock, one thing that we all need to be conscious of is that COVID-19 is very much around us, and everywhere, globally.

“So we can’t just drop the ball getting to Silverstone and think we’re invincible.

“The only thing that I can say is my biggest fear is people becoming complacent, and we just need to stick with the process that we’ve developed.”

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