How danger Covid-19 pandemic is for F1?

pandemic is for F1
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o say that all aspects of human life has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic would be the understatement of the century. The world of sports hasn't been an exception to this either. Formula 1 has had its fair share of drama already because of this pandemic.

The season started as scheduled in Australia in March but after team personnel tested positive the sport immediately went into a hiatus before the race weekend could even start in earnest. For quite some time after that, it seemed like F1 wouldn't be able to conduct any races in 2020.

That all changed last month as the resolve and determination of the F1 brass along with the accommodating nature of organizers allowed F1 to return to racing, albeit without fans. Stringent protocols and intensive testing were put into place to ensure that the virus would not wreak havoc in the F1 paddock.

Covid-19 pandemic
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It all seemed to be working as intended until the first of the two races in Silverstone where Racing Point driver Sergio Perez tested positive for the virus. So to think that the risk is over would be at least wrong. (Best wishes Perez's health and a speedy return to F1 racing!)

This is proof that no system is perfect and until a vaccine is found, there are no realistic alternatives when it comes to being completely safe from the Covid-19 virus.

 Covid-19 pandemic
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Anomaly or when to start worrying?

The big question now is whether this is just an anomaly or if it is the start of a worrying trend for the F1 teams and the fans.

To answer this question, we need to look at the specific circumstances that led to Perez getting infected. Just after the Hungarian GP, Perez's mother met with an accident and got hospitalized. Perez took a private jet back to Mexico to meet up with her.

This is not uncommon for the drivers. In the previous weeks, drivers like Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas had also made trips back home in between race weekends. The important thing is that they have to stay within a bubble of people who are confirmed to not have the infection. In the case of Perez, he claims that he had followed this guideline and hadn't come in contact with anyone outside his bubble. However, there have been unconfirmed reports out of Mexico that seems to suggest that Perez was in contact with a wide group of people and had even dined at an open restaurant.

Whether there is any truth in these claims is a different matter but the irrefutable fact is that Perez got the virus from someone outside the F1 paddock as everyone else in the paddock before and after his positive test has tested negative.

Covid-19 pandemic

What does this mean for the future of F1?

Rumors about the complete F1 races cancellation is unlikely at all, cause FIA is more likely to spend huge amounts on additional safety measures.

 Covid-19 pandemic

1. Empty stands without fans

Empty racing circuit stands are the most debatable question to date. Our Russian Grand Prix in Sochi is the first one that should be with fans, but they don't hurry to buy F1 tickets. Despite the fact that such measures are very expensive, safety still comes first, especially when it 's about hundreds of thousands of people. Why is this important? Some fans still managed to get on Styrian Circuit.

 Covid-19 pandemic

2 Empty F1 Paddock without guests

We will not see the show business' faces and other stars in F1 paddock until the situation with the pandemic gets better. This is a key measure to limit the number of people in Formula 1.

3 Racing staff' reduction.

This will help limit contacts, limit interaction, and try to reduce costs.

Covid-19 pandemic

4 Additional equipment and protective equipment.

Covid-19 pandemic

5 Further measures of social distance.

The distance will increase to 3 instead of the required 1.5 - 2 meters, as well as the distance between Formula 1 teams, including the strengthening of the "social ball".

Covid-19 pandemic

The good news

The checks and precautions put in place by the FIA and F1's top brass works. It’s not the perfect solution as Racing Point was left scrambling to find a last-minute replacement for Perez. This highlights possibly the only chink in the current system in place. Many teams share reserve drivers. So, if drivers from two such teams were to test positive, it would force one of the teams to race with just one car or not race at all. This is, however, a problem that can be solved very easily. The teams would have to hire a few drivers as reserves so that they can always be on stand by and be available and ready at a moment's notice.

Covid-19 pandemic
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There is no dearth for such drivers either. The teams and drivers could also be a bit more vigilant when it comes to the people, they interact with between race weekends. As long as that happens, Perez's case can be happily dismissed as a blip in the system and not the start of an alarming trend.

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