Formula 1 has announced that 10 more personnel have tested positive for COVID-19, but maintains it has nothing to do with the allowance of 30,000 fans into the Russian Grand Prix.
Following last week’s results which saw a then-high seven new cases out of 3,256 tested, the sport has 10 new cases this week out of the 1,822 tests conducted.
In a statement, F1 said that the 10 new cases were among “ancillary personnel” at the race and “have been managed quickly and effectively without impacting the event.
“The presence of fans has not affected that situation as the public was not allowed to enter the F1 bubble as per our protocol in force.”
Nevertheless as the second race at which spectators were allowed to attend, and the first in which they did so in significant numbers, these results will be concerning to F1 with further attendance allowed at the upcoming races in Germany, Portugal, Italy and Turkey.
While F1 maintains the integrity of its “bubble” has not been compromised, Haas driver Romain Grosjean said in Sochi that the increased risk of exposure outside the track had been a serious concern.
“In Russia, wearing a mask isn’t mandatory,” he explained. “Waiters do but don’t cover their noses. There are many fans at the hotel, so we sometimes find ourselves sharing an elevator with people from outside the F1 bubble.
“That’s not something I’m super comfortable with. I don’t fear contracting the coronavirus for my health, I just don’t want to have it because I wouldn’t be allowed to go racing, I wouldn’t be allowed to do my job.
“I am not happy with the safety measures implemented at the hotel.”
Inside the bubble, F1 personnel must be tested every five days for the virus, with mandatory wearing of masks when not at workstations, and daily temperature checks upon entry.
Overall, nearly 50,000 tests have been conducted since the introduction of the measures at the end of June, with a return of 26 cases overall.