A contact tracing app is being prepared to help Formula 1 teams deal effectively with a positive case of COVID-19 in the paddock and reduce the risk of one of them missing a race.
F1’s 2020 season will finally get underway in Austria on July 5 with two races at the Red Bull Ring, followed by another at the Hungaroring on July 19. Teams are limited in the number of personnel they are allowed to have at the track, and there will also be measures in place to limit contact with anyone outside the sport, as well as each other in the paddock.
While there will be regular testing in line with government guidelines, the sport is also working on a tracing app so that close contacts can quickly be identified if there is a positive case. But Haas team principal Guenther Steiner admits the knock-on effect could be as severe as a team having to miss a race.
“There will be an app, which we haven’t seen yet, so we can monitor the situation of who the infected person was in contact with,” Steiner said. “There’s protocols in place so you can really see who was in contact with. If the app is not used, they need to tell us who they had contact with.
“They are fitted up in bubbles, so maybe six people (from a bubble) have to go out of the paddock and be replaced by new people. If there is too many, I think the protocol is that team doesn’t participate in the race.”
While some staff members would need to be substituted in and out of the team in the event of a test returning a positive result for the virus, Steiner said Haas will not have traveling replacements.
“We have got some people on standby in the factory, who are tested, who could go at any time,” he said. “They are prepared and tested and ready to go if needed. But we are not taking them there, otherwise they would end up sitting in their bed.”
All F1 personnel traveling to an event will have to have been tested and shown not to have the virus within 72 hours of arriving in each host country.