Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer has confirmed the team has had seven cases of COVID-19 following confusing communication in recent weeks.
The team was warned by the FIA for not reporting Lance Stroll’s positive test result immediately after he had been suffering from illness at the Eifel Grand Prix, and it transpired there had been more team absences at that race at the Nurburgring that were reported properly. While Szafnauer claimed the team did not have positive cases when returning from Russia, he now admits there were some but he had specifically answered about one job role as he attempted to protect the identity of those involved.
“We had no engineers, I think I said it last week and I will say it again,” Szafnauer said. “I don’t know where, why and how people think we had a positive test of any engineers. We had no engineers test positive. Two drivers, the team owner and a handful of other people that were tested at the factory. And that’s it. So in total, I think we’re seven (positives).
“We don’t name people for obvious reasons as to who tested positive and we don’t name their roles either, because then you can pick out who it is. We’ve got to respect their own confidentiality — they don’t want everybody to know and the FIA doesn’t say either and we report to the FIA.
“So to be clear, no engineers, two drivers who we’ve told everybody, the team owner, and in total, there were seven, So there are four further ones. They range from people in our marketing department, riggers, laminators, only seven in total. But we’re not going to say who it is — we’ve got to respect their confidentiality.
“I was asked a direct question, ‘Did any of the engineers test positive?’ and the answer is ‘no’. I thought the reason that question was asked is because the engineers work closely with the drivers. None of them tested positive and none were close contacts.”
RACER has also chosen not to publish the roles of the team members in question, although Sergio Perez did confirm one of the two of his car crew that were absent at the Nurburgring.
“My front end mechanic,” Perez said. “It was a very unfortunate situation. When that happened, we had two members in my car. The best thing to do is just to wish them a quick recovery. I think the racing side is separate, that’s less relevant.
“Let’s not forget that this virus can get very serious, so for me the most important thing was to have them back fully recovered — which they are back, both of my guys and that was the most important thing.”