Nürburg (dpa) – The corona virus has forced world champion team Mercedes to replace six Formula 1 team members.
The racing team of drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas had the new hires fly from the factory in Brackley, England, to the Nürburgring on Thursday, as team boss Toto Wolff explained. “The loss of every key employee has consequences for the team,” the Austrian continued. “But I think we have it under control.”
On Thursday before the Grand Prix of the Eifel, Mercedes had made a first positive test on a team member public. However, it was not about the drivers Bottas and Hamilton, who want to overtake record man Michael Schumacher on Sunday (2.10 p.m. / RTL and Sky) with his 91st career victory.
Then and Thursday, the entire team was tested again for the virus. There was one more positive evidence and one unclear evidence, which will be rechecked. All other Silver Arrows employees tested negative.
According to Formula 1 Corona guidelines, another four team members are no longer allowed to participate in the Grand Prix weekend. “That is certainly not a good situation, because every person is important”, says Wolff. “That will stay with us for a while.”
Mercedes wants to continue to work closely with the global automobile association Fia. The race team will not publish details of the employees involved. Prior to the Corona emergency season, it has been determined that a maximum of 80 employees may travel to Grand Prix, which takes place in front of empty stands. Even 90 crew members were allowed in Spa. 60 of them are allowed to work on the car in turn.
This is certainly a concern, Hamilton had admitted after the first Corona case at Mercedes. “I can’t say what it means for the weekend. We have a lot of great people on the team, it’s not just one person.” A smooth preparation for a Grand Prix weekend naturally looks different.
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In order to be able to continue the season at all against the background of the corona pandemic, the motorsport royal class has prescribed a strict hygiene concept. In addition to a mask trip, this also provides for the strict division of the participants into groups that are not allowed to have contact with each other. Formula 1 also makes the results of the regular tests known to all involved.
Before the actual start of the season in March, a positive Corona case with the McLaren team ultimately resulted in the Australian Grand Prix being canceled at short notice. After that, the corona pandemic temporarily paralyzed sport worldwide and with it the motorsport royal class.