Racing Point had ‘no issues’ with Perez trip to Mexico
Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer says he had no issues with Sergio Perez returning home to Mexico after Hungary, a trip during which the driver may have contracted the coronavirus.
Perez tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, which bars him from taking part in this weekend’s British Grand Prix and in next week’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The Mexican subsequently revealed that had returned home to Mexico after the Hungarian Grand Prix to visit his mother who had been injured in an accident.
Perez undertook the round trip with the approval of his team under the condition that he fly private rather than commercial.
Sad Perez bewildered by positive COVID-19 test
“We’ve got no clauses in the contract where he’s got to ask permission to go back to his family,” said Szafnauer at Silverstone on Friday.
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“I think his family was in Mexico, and it’s not a surprise that he went back to Mexico, that’s what he’s done forever while he’s been driving for us.
“We did though discuss how he was flying there and back, and it was always by a private flight, never commercially. There’s no issue with that.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing. There are many people that are in hotspots all around the world.
“We have a big contingent of our factory who live in Northampton, and you know Northampton was shut down as well. So our philosophy is we take all the precautions necessary in light of where we are travelling.
“And if we do take those precautions, I’m confident that we won’t get the virus. We just need to now forensically look back and try to ascertain how Checo became infected, and make sure that we cover that off in the future.”
Formula 1 is functioning according to a stringent series of safety measures on race weekends. But the protocol does not prevent individuals from traveling around during a week when there is no race, as was the case after Hungary.
“Perhaps we should look at that, change the code and say throughout the season, you stay within your bubble?,” pondered Szafnauer. “I don’t know, but that’s something for the FIA to consider.
“I read through the code a couple of times now, and it is a living document.
“So they say at the very beginning: from time to time as we learn this will change, so perhaps that’ll change.
“But I don’t think Checo did anything wrong, going back to his family. He takes all the precautions. I think it’s no different than Ferrari going back to Italy, for example.”
As it’s better to be safe than sorry, several Racing Point team members, two of which traveled with Perez to Mexico, have been placed in isolation despite all individuals testing negative.
“There are two members of staff that traveled with Checo, his PA and his physio,” explained Szafnauer. “They both tested negative, but they’re isolating as well for either seven or 10 days.
“And then there are three members of the team that did a simulator session with Checo, so they didn’t really come in contact with him, because the simulator is in one room, and the control centre where they’re at is in a totally separate room.
“So we had the social distance required. We also wore masks as we always do, and PPE as well. As a precaution they then stayed at home and isolated until they got a negative test.
“So we tested them, all three of them are negative as well. They tested again this morning. They’re at the factory now, working from the factory.
“They haven’t come into the paddock, but my anticipation is they’ll be negative again for their second test.
“And then thereafter, we’ll see if we’ll make a decision on whether they can come in, whether they should come into the paddock. I’m 100% confident they don’t have the virus. But it’s belt and braces, so we’re testing them twice.”
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