Williams has reported a number of positive COVID-19 cases over the past two race weekends in Portugal and Italy, forcing the team to use some factory-based personnel for its next race in Turkey.
Teams must undergo regular testing in order to monitor the COVID-19 situation while racing in different countries, with their members split into sub-groups to help prevent an outbreak. Per FIA protocols, any close contacts of a positive case must immediately self isolate and be tested again, an approach that can impact on a team’s ability to operate at each venue.
Williams said the races at Portimao and Imola saw so many positive cases that the team was forced to call upon staffers who are not part of the race team in order to compete in the Turkish Grand Prix next weekend.
“Williams can confirm that we have had a number of positive COVID-19 cases during the course of the Portuguese and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix, and while we will not be detailing any individual’s private information, we can confirm that all cases have been managed in line with the FIA COVID-19 guidelines, working with the FIA and with the ongoing safety of our people a priority,” a Williams statement read.
“In order to ensure we follow these guidelines, several members of our trackside team are also isolating as a result of being identified as close contacts of these positive cases.
“As per our internal COVID-19 protocols, a number of factory-based team members will therefore fulfill these roles for the upcoming Turkish Grand Prix weekend. We ask for understanding that we will not be adding any additional information on this subject; but we would like to extend our thanks to all our traveling and factory based team members and their families, for their continued work and support during what is an extremely challenging time.”
No team has yet had to withdraw a car or miss a race due to COVID-19, although McLaren pulled out of the season-opening Australian GP after a positive case before the race itself was cancelled.
Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll are the only two drivers to test positive so far this season.