Ross Brawn has warned the Formula 1 paddock cannot get complacent despite there being no positive COVID-19 cases after more than 8,000 tests in Austria.
The 2020 season was able to begin at the Red Bull Ring last weekend after F1 outlined strict protocols to make the paddock a “biosphere” and maintain the safety of all attending.
Teams are required to social distance where possible and cannot interact with other teams, while there is no mixing between the paddock and the media.
All personnel in Austria are required to undergo a COVID-19 test every five days, with F1 confirming on Friday there had been no positive results in the last week, covering 4,566 tests.
This took the cumulative total to 8,598 tests in the two-week period, all of which were negative.
F1 managing director of motorsports Brawn said that while the sport’s biosphere plan had so far been a success, it was important to remain vigilant, adding that a positive test result is likely at some stage.
“Motor racing as you know is very good at logistics,” Brawn said. “It’s very good at organising itself. Plan A, Plan B, Plan C is our bread and butter, it’s what we do all the time.
“With the FIA, with Formula 1, with the promoters, with the teams, we started regular meetings to work out a plan of how we could go back racing.
“The concept of the biosphere, the big bubble, and then every team is split down into small bubbles, that means we will get a positive at some stage, but we hope then we can control it, and we can minimise the risk.
“My wife was quite concerned about me coming here, and I said this should be the safest place for me to ever be, and that was the objective.
“Touch wood, we’ve been OK so far, but we can’t get complacent. Massive effort and compliments to everyone.”
F1 has enjoyed a wide global audience as the first international sport to get back underway following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the suspension of most global events.
But Brawn said the fact so many eyeballs were on F1 meant it could not be seen to let its guard down when it came to protocols and maintaining safety standards.
“We’ve had a terrific response from this race in terms of TV coverage, our numbers are very high, especially social media and the digital side,” Brawn said.
“We had very strong numbers last weekend, and everyone is keen to get racing as long as we can offer a safe environment for everyone to do it.
“We need to make sure that Formula 1, being an international sport, moving around the world, we don’t become a sport that takes COVID into a country.
“We’ve got to be someone that countries can totally rely on as being a safe activity to have.”
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