Formula 1 teams can use reserves if driver tests positive at 2020 race

Formula 1 teams have been urged to make use of their reserves should any of their lead drivers test positive for COVID-19 once the delayed 2020 season starts, with Chase Carey reaffirming that races will not be cancelled in that circumstance.

Carey, F1’s chairman and chief executive, was speaking after the sport published an eight-race initial calendar with the season starting in Austria on July 5.

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The original March 15 opener in Australia was cancelled after a McLaren team member returned a positive test for the new coronavirus before the weekend had started.

But, confirming what FIA president Jean Todt told Sky Sports last month, Carey said that would not happen this time around.

“An individual having been found with a positive infection will not lead to a cancellation of a race,” Carey said in an interview on the official F1 website.

“We encourage teams to have procedures in place so if an individual has to be put in quarantine, we have the ability to quarantine them at a hotel and to replace that individual.

“A team not being able to race wouldn’t cancel the race… we will have a procedure in place that finding infection will not lead to a cancellation. If a driver has an infection, (the teams have) reserve drivers available.”

All 10 F1 teams have two full-time drivers, and a number of test or reserve drivers should they need them.

The last driver to fill in for a team during a season was Sky F1’s Paul Di Resta, who replaced the sick Felipe Massa at the 2016 Hungarian GP for Williams.

F1’s safety plans

Formula 1 plans to race without spectators, at least initially, and teams will fly in on charters and be isolated from the local population.

Carey pointed to “a rigorous set of guidelines” of some 80-90 pages detailing the processes for travel, hotels, meals, track behaviour and testing.

Teams will operate in ‘bubbles’ with social distancing in non-critical areas such as the paddock.

F1 expects some 1,200 essential personnel with the 10 teams limited to a maximum 80 people each compared to the more usual 130.

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