Racing Point say they've ‘learned’ from their handling of Stroll’s illness after FIA give them ‘reminder’
Racing Point Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer says his Formula 1 operation are taking learnings from their handling of Lance Stroll’s illness in Germany, having received a “reminder” from governing body the FIA about their obligations.
The FIA require teams to inform them of a positive test, but Racing Point did not do so for more than a week. Speaking in Friday’s press conference, ahead of the Portuguese Grand Prix, Szafnauer said the team will do so “immediately” should a similar situation arise in the future.
“It wasn’t a warning, it was a reminder that we have an obligation to inform the FIA in a short period of time,” he said. “We’ve learned from that. If it happens again, we’ll do it immediately. When Lance tested on Sunday [of the Eifel Grand Prix], he was isolating in Switzerland after he got the result.
“Our concern was first and foremost for his health, but making sure we contacted all his close contacts. By the time we had word, all his close contacts had already tested negative for the virus.”
McLaren Racing chief Zak Brown was particularly scathing of Racing Point’s handling of the Stroll situation, highlighting his surprise Stroll’s physician didn’t think he was showing Covid symptoms at the Nurburgring.
“For McLaren, we put our people first and foremost, we won’t take any risks, we won’t gamble,” he said. “We recognise how dangerous this [the 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 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 the [Racing Point] 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.”
He added: “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.”