The FIA has written to Racing Point warning it about its reporting of Lance Stroll’s positive COVID-19 result.
Stroll showed symptoms while at the Eifel Grand Prix and did not drive on Saturday or Sunday, but was not tested in Germany. Instead he traveled home on Sunday and took a test that evening, returning a positive result on Monday. While the Canadian followed protocols at the track in terms of the mandatory testing schedule and not entering the paddock, Racing Point did not report the positive case to the FIA.
Article 5.21 of the COVID Code of Conduct states: “If an Attendee develops any COVID-19 Symptoms or tests positive for the COVID-19 within 14 days of the end of a Covered Event, he/she must report this immediately to his/her Stakeholder or to a healthcare professional designated by his/her Stakeholder, and provide details of all Attendees with whom he/she was in Close Contact during that time.
“The Stakeholder or healthcare professional will then advise the COVID-19 Delegate that the Attendee should no longer attend Covered Events, and the COVID-19 Delegate will follow up as necessary in respect of Attendees with whom that Attendee had been in Close Contact.”
As Stroll tested positive within 24 hours of the end of the event, the result should have been reported immediately to the FIA’s COVID-19 Delegate, but Racing Point did not inform the FIA until over a week later, with the governing body only finding out shortly before Stroll publicly announced the news via his social media channels.
While the lack of reporting is in breach of the COVID Code of Conduct, the FIA is satisfied Racing Point did not breach it in Germany as Stroll did not return to the paddock after his condition worsened, technically leaving the venue.
This is not the first time the FIA has issued warnings regarding COVID protocols — Charles Leclerc left Austria to return home between the first two races of the season and did not adhere to to the code, while Ferrari and Red Bull also received warnings when Christian Horner, Helmut Marko and Sebastian Vettel were pictured talking in the paddock without face masks.