Image: Wikimedia Commons / Michał Obrochta
Image: Wikimedia Commons / Michał Obrochta

Lance Stroll tested positive for Covid-19 after Eifel Grand Prix

Racing Point driver Lance Stroll has revealed that he tested positive for the coronavirus after falling ill over the Eifel Grand Prix race weekend.

Little was revealed about Stroll’s condition at the Nürburgring, other than that he was too ill to compete in qualifying. Nico Hulkenberg was drafted in as a replacement for Saturday and on the Sunday race, where he finished eighth.

Stroll has now said he is feeling well and has tested negative, and that he intends to return in the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer had said that Stroll tested negative for Covid-19 on multiple occasions in the build-up to the race, and his symptoms were described as not being typical of the virus. He also said that Stroll began to feel unwell while in Russia for the previous round of the championship, which took place on 27 September.

In a statement, Racing Point said they did not report Stroll’s illness to the FIA as a potential Covid case because “a doctor did not believe his symptoms indicated Covid-19 and did not advise a test was necessary”.

F1 personnel and drivers are tested for the virus every five days.

Stroll travelled home without a positive test on Sunday, but it was tested and received a positive test the next day.

I arrived at the Nürburgring after testing negative in the normal pre-race tests

– Lance Stroll

In his story of Instagram, Stroll wrote: “I just want to let everyone know that I recently tested positive for COVID-19 after the Eifel GP weekend. I am feeling 100% and have since tested negative.

“To fill you in on what happened, I arrived at the Nürburgring after testing negative in the normal pre-race tests.

“On Saturday morning I started to feel unwell and woke up with an upset stomach. I followed the FIA protocol and self-isolated in my motorhome and did not re-enter the paddock.

“I wasn’t fit to race so I flew home early Sunday morning. As I was still feeling under the weather, I took a Covid test on Sunday evening.

“The next day the results came back positive, so I stayed at home self-isolating for the next 10 days. Luckily, my symptoms were pretty mild.

“I was tested again on Monday this week and my results were negative. I feel in great shape and I can’t wait to be back with the team and to race in Portugal.”

After the news was revealed, the FIA faced criticism from other F1 teams who were concerned Racing Point had found a loophole in the Covid-19 testing regime.

His next test would have been Sunday morning to fulfil the requirements of the FIA COVID protocol

– Michael Masi

F1 race director Michael Masi disputed this, saying: “We don’t feel there is any loophole. The requirement for Lance, or any other attendee on that matter, there are the various time requirements to test prior to entering the paddock, and then the follow up testing from that point.

“Based on the Tuesday test, his next test would have been Sunday morning to fulfil the requirements of the FIA COVID protocol. So that one is quite simple.

“With regards to Lance feeling ill, like any other driver, it’s incumbent upon the driver and the competitor, in this case, Racing Point, to determine if they feel that their driver is not up to the capacity to drive the car, which they obviously did and chose to do yesterday.

“From the requirements within Appendix S [of the FIA’s COVID protocols], it’s incumbent upon Racing Point as the stakeholder in this case and Lance himself as an attendee to declare within the parameters of the protocol if they are having any of those requirements, and then there is the requirement from there to report.

“None of that has been reported to the FIA, so there’s nothing further from our perspective at this point in time.”

It was also confirmed that team owner Lawrence Stroll has contracted the virus – he had not travelled to the Russian or the Eifel Grand Prix, and he has no symptoms.

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