Racing Point have had seven people test positive for Covid-19 during the 2020 Formula 1 season, team principal Otmar Szafnauer has confirmed.
Sergio Perez missed two races at Silverstone and team-mate Lance Stroll was absent through illness in Germany, with him later testing positive for coronavirus, while co-owner Lawrence Stroll has done likewise.
Perez said two of the other people to test positive had worked on his car including a “front-end mechanic”, but Szafnauer said they were not engineers.
In a news conference on Friday for this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola in Italy, Perez said the incidents came after the Russian Grand Prix and meant “two members in my car” were not present at October’s Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in Germany.
“It was an unfortunate situation,” said Perez. “The best thing to do is to wish them a quick recovery, the racing side is less relevant.
“Let’s not forget, this virus can get very serious, so for me the most important thing was to have them back fully recovered which they are back, both of my guys, and that’s the most important thing.”
The only two Formula 1 drivers to test positive for Covid-19 this season have both been from Racing Point and last week Szafnauer defended the team’s procedures, insisting they “test more than any other business on the planet”.
In Friday’s news conference, Szafnauer insisted the team had not done anything wrong.
Asked how many Covid-19 cases the team have had, he said: “We had no engineers, I said that last week and will say it again – I don’t know where, why and how people think we had a positive test with an engineer – no engineer has tested positive.
“Two drivers and a team owner and a handful of other people that were tested at the factory and that’s it – in total seven.
“We don’t name people for obvious reasons as to who tested positive and we don’t name their roles as you can pick out who it is and we have to respect their confidentiality.
“They don’t want everybody to know, the FIA doesn’t say either and we report to the FIA. To be clear, no engineers, two drivers, who we have told everybody about, and a team owner.
“In total there are seven so there are four other ones and they range from people in our marketing department, riggers, laminators – only seven but we are not going to say who it is.”