Racing Point says Lance Stroll was advised it was not necessary to take a COVID-19 test by a doctor because his symptoms did not indicate he had the virus.
Stroll felt unwell since the Russian Grand Prix but tested negative for COVID-19, allowing him to travel to the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany. His condition worsened at the Nurburgring to the extent he couldn’t drive on Saturday and withdrew from the race — to be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg — but despite reporting symptoms that the World Health Organization list as COVID-19 symptoms, he did not take a test until he got home after the race.
On Wednesday the Canadian announced that test 10 days ago was positive, but Racing Point’s Otmar Szafnauer insists his team did not break the FIA’s COVID-19 Code of Conduct because a doctor advised it was unlikely he had COVID.
“As stated by Lance on social media this morning, Racing Point can confirm that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, 11th of October,” Szafnauer said. “Lance had left the team bubble in Germany on Saturday, 10th October as he was unable to compete due to the effect of a recurring stomach upset.
“Lance had first reported an upset stomach during the Russian Grand Prix week and subsequently tested negative for COVID-19 several times, tests taken in line with both the FIA and Racing Point’s own protocols.
“He also tested negative before arrival in Germany in the official pre-event test for the Eifel Grand Prix. The upset stomach symptoms returned on Saturday, which forced Lance to withdraw from the race and stay in his motorhome away from the paddock. He consulted with a doctor who did not believe his symptoms indicated COVID-19 and did not advise a test was necessary. Based on this clinical assessment, at the time there was no requirement to inform the FIA as to the nature of the illness.
“Lance then flew home to Switzerland on a private plane on Sunday morning. In line with Racing Point’s enhanced testing protocol, under which all team members are tested on return from a Grand Prix, Lance took a COVID-19 test at home and received a positive result the next day. He continued to isolate for 10 days from the date of the test, in line with local regulations. He returned a negative test on Monday this week and will travel to the Portuguese Grand Prix.
“All members of the Racing Point team at the Eifel Grand Prix returned to the UK via a private charter flight and all tested negative upon their arrival, and again in their pre-event test for the Portuguese Grand Prix.”
Under the International Sporting Code, the FIA has the ability to disqualify a team or person if it feels there has been a deliberate or serious breach of the COVID-19 Code of conduct.