Despite 'immense' measures, F1 could handle 10 Covid-19 cases

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Formula 1 could handle 10 Covid-19 cases in the paddock despite "immense" measures aimed at reducing the risk.

That is the claim from the chairman of the FIA's medical commission Gerard Saillant as the sport puts together a plan to resume racing behind closed doors from July.

At the heart of the effort to limit possible infections is rigorous testing, with all personnel requiring a negative test before entry to the paddock and then further tests every 48 hours upon arrival.

All teams will also be kept in their own isolation 'bubble' to prevent spread across the paddock if a positive Covid case emerged.

"I talked to Ross Brawn at length and his comment, which I agree with is that if we handle this right, one of the safest places to be might be at a Grand Prix," McLaren CEO Zak Brown told Sky Sports this week.

"The testing will be immense, the protocols will be immense, the social distancing, but you will still probably be thrown a curveball if we are going to do 15 races around the world.

"We're going to have something that happens. All you can do is be really prepared and think through all the scenarios."

Of course, back in Australia, it was the positive test of a McLaren employee which saw the team pull out of the event and a further 14 employees quarantined for two weeks afterwards.

This also led to a crazy scenario of the race eventually being cancelled just an hour before action was due to start on the Friday morning.

"We were very prepared heading into Australia. We knew exactly what we were going to do in different circumstances, and we just acted against that," Brown said.

"I think as an industry, collectively we weren't that prepared, and I think that showed by the crisis meeting on Thursday night, a split between the teams, fans queued up on Friday, some teams at the track, some drivers on the plane.

"That wasn't very well choreographed. That wasn't one of Formula 1's finer moments."

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But with just over three months between the events of Australia and the first planned races in Austria, Professor Saillant is confident F1 can handle a small number of cases.

"I think the situation is quite different between Melbourne and Austria now," he said. "The knowledge of the virus is quite different. It is possible to prevent and to anticipate a lot of things.

"If we have one positive case, or maybe even 10, it is possible to manage perfectly with a special pathway for the positive case."

Instead, his main fear would be the potential PR damage caused by such a situation.

"We have to try to anticipate that, to know where the red line is beyond which it is impossible to continue, but I think it is not a problem for us now," he concluded.