Sergio Perez has criticized what he describes as “bull***t” coverage of his positive COVID-19 test and spell away from racing, saying more focus should be on health and wellbeing.
Teams and drivers are operating in small bubbles that are intended to isolate the virus if anyone tests positive, with the guidance stating they should follow a COVID Code of Conduct written by the FIA between back-to-back events. However, there is more freedom when there is a weekend gap between races and Perez used that time to visit his injured mother in Mexico after the Hungarian Grand Prix. He then tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the British Grand Prix, but says he was angered by certain reports claiming he had gone to meet sponsors and fans while back at home.
“I found it very unprofessional, those things, because it’s a total lie,” Perez said. “I went to Mexico for two days to see my mom, with all the precautions in place. I took care of everything, followed all the guidelines that we have. I basically was there for two days and came back to Europe.
“When I was in quarantine I saw everything, I saw people saying I was taking selfies with a lot of people, I saw that I made up the story about my mom — so much bull***t. So disrespectful. People here in Formula 1 tend to think we are bulletproof to the virus, and that’s not the case. We’re all very vulnerable to this. We have to take care of it.
“I’ve done nothing differently to anyone else in this paddock. I took all the precautions; it just happened to me. It happened to another friend in another team. When I was in quarantine he called me and said, ‘Look, I tested positive too,’ It can just happen to anyone. What cannot happen is that if tomorrow someone else is infected that people make up stories instead of being worried about their health.”
Perez also clarified that he was able to travel to Spain before receiving his latest test results to enter the paddock — based on the guidance from the UK government — and says he has lost count of how many times he has been tested to be cleared to return.
“I did a test last Thursday in Silverstone. I tested negative, then positive, then negative, then positive. Every day it was pretty difficult. Now finally I manage to be negative.
“As I finished my quarantine in the UK, I was free to go. But for Formula 1 I had to be negative. In some other sports after 10 days they clear you, but every sport is different.”