McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has criticized Racing Point’s lack of transparency regarding Lance Stroll’s positive COVID-19 test result, as well as the doctor who advised him against being tested.
Based on World Health Organization guidance, Stroll was displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 while at the Eifel Grand Prix, but tested negative prior to arriving in Germany. FIA protocols dictate it’s up to a team to declare if a driver has COVID symptoms and Racing Point took advice from Stroll’s personal doctor, claiming the team was told he a test wasn’t necessary. Stroll didn’t get tested again until returning home on the Sunday, getting a positive result the next day, and Brown says he would have handled the situation differently.
“For McLaren, we put our people first and foremost; we won’t take any risks, we won’t gamble,” Brown said. “We recognize how dangerous this (virus) is, want to make sure everyone stays healthy, continue to put on grands prix.
“I think the sport has done a good job; there has been more cases, Racing Point being most visible recently. We do a tremendous amount of testing, we take full precaution. I think we all need to look after each other’s back. If I look at the Racing Point incidents, I would probably test anyone who isn’t feeling well daily.
“In Australia, we had someone who didn’t feel well, Andreas (Seidl) and I aren’t doctors but we took a quick decision to isolate. Once the test came back positive, we isolated the team. Ultimately, we knew it would shut us down for the race.
“I know (Stroll’s) doctor didn’t think a test was positive; maybe in hindsight, that should have been different. Don’t know who the doctor is. Don’t know if it was Dr. Mallya, Dr. Seuss, maybe it was Dr. Dre. Maybe next time around, we should be testing when anyone has any sorts of symptoms because we know how dangerous this is.”
Stroll had been in the paddock on Thursday and Friday in Germany, and with Racing Point then not telling the FIA about the positive test until over a week later — leading to a warning from the governing body — Brown says the focus should always be on health.
“I know when we had our issue in Australia, we communicated it very quickly to everyone, as we have a moral obligation to people’s health. (Regarding Racing Point), I don’t know the details, I just know what I read and see, and it looks like there wasn’t immediate transparency.
“For an entity that tests as much as they do, all I know, we would be testing anyone at McLaren who doesn’t feel well daily, to make sure that person is healthy and not transmitting, and then would isolate anyone who is around them immediately.”