McLaren Formula 1 main Andreas Seidl is convinced new protocols set up with this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix must stop a repeat of their group’s race withdrawal in Australia.
McLaren pulled from this projected 2020 season-opening Australian Grand Prix on the Thursday night prior to the race after among its group members tested positive for COVID-19.
The group’s withdrawal set the ball rolling to the rescue of the grand prix, which has been affirmed two hours prior to the scheduled beginning of practice.
After being forced to call a further nine races because of this COVID-19 pandemic, F1 begins its time this weekend in Austria, using a rigorous set of procedures to reduce transmission of this virus at the paddock.
Talking to pick press in a conference telephone, Seidl voiced his confidence that the new processes would mean McLaren might not need to pull out at case of a positive test outcome.
“I am quite pleased with the plan that’s been created under the direction of the FIA, which provides us clear processes of how we implement the race weekend in Austria,” Seidl said.
“What’s different today to Australia is that we now have a very clear notion of isolation of those groups, involving each other.
“We shall appear at Austria in these various groups, and we’re building, along with this, place groups within the group.
“The coverage is clear. If anybody would develop symptoms, we’d instantly test the group member at the paddock, and all of the close contacts also, so all of the members of the sub-group.
“We ought to find the test result in a few hours onsite, which then permits us to make a fast choice of what the upcoming steps are.
“If somebody is optimistic, he wants to be isolated by the group and can not continue.
“However, for everybody else that isn’t influenced or who’s negative, we could keep going.”
McLaren will possess backup personnel on standby from the UK to fly to Austria if among those race staff be forced to pull out.
All members of this race group have experienced routine testing in recent months, with all outcomes coming back negative.
Seidl reported that, in spite of all the processes set up, the essence of the virus meant the danger of a motorist being made to skip a session because of a positive test outcome stayed.
“We need to tell the truth, the threat is there, since ultimately it is a virus, as we’ve observed, it could spread very fast,” Seidl said.
“We all know it could occur anytime, that some group members are growing the virus, after which it is important we rigorously follow all of the processes we have set up.”
Racing Point staff boss Otmar Szafnauer thinks that the string is appropriate to err on the side of caution using the protocols that are robust.
“There is a great deal of effort been placed from the groups, the FIA and FOM,” he told Autosport. “So I believe we have got great procedures and quite a powerful protocol.
“We all must follow this, and notably at the start we have got to create sure as we are learning that we race safely and keep everyone healthy.
“A outbreak at the paddock could jeopardise the whole season, and that is the very last thing we would like, we can not afford this.
“Erring on the secure side is the ideal thing, moving over the top is also the ideal thing.
“We have got to create certain safety and our wellbeing is predominant in this.
“If we could prove we could do that we could race over the eight who are originally intended.”