After its regular medical car crew tested positive for coronavirus, Formula One will use a replacement crew for this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.
Alan van der Merwe, a medical car driver, and doctor Ian Roberts have worked together for many years, most famously in helping Romain Grosjean in escaping from a catastrophic crash at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
However, during pre-event testing before to their trip to Istanbul, it was discovered that both had been infected with COVID-19.
The FIA stated in a statement that their diagnosis prevented them from performing their normal duties.
“[Both] tested positive for COVID-19 prior to travelling and are therefore self-isolating and will not attend the 2021 FIA Formula Turkish Grand Prix,” said an FIA spokesman.
“They will be replaced at this event by FIA Formula E World Championship Safety Car Driver, Bruno Correia, and Medical Delegate, Dr Bruno Franceschini, respectively.”
If van der Merwe and Roberts recover quickly, they may be able to compete in the next race in Austin later this month.
As part of the regulations put in place ahead of the postponed 2020 season, F1 has conducted a massive testing program for coronavirus to ensure that racing can continue.
To ensure that they do not transmit the virus if they have got it, all personnel who desire to attend races must undergo pre-travel COVID tests, as well as further evaluations over each grand prix weekend.
F1 has so far managed to keep any big epidemics in the paddock under control, with quick action ensuring that if somebody tests positive, all close contacts are placed in self-isolation.
Van der Merwe was a part-time test driver for the BAR F1 team and is a former British F3 champion. In 2009, he became the official medical car driver after competing in the A1 Grand Prix and sportscars.
Roberts is the medical car driver in his capacity as F1 Medical Rescue Coordinator, which he started in 2013. He was previously the chief medical officer at Silverstone, and he has also served in that capacity at the British Grand Prix on multiple times.
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