Racing Point driver Lance Stroll has admitted that he tested positive for COVID-19 during the Eifel Grand Prix weekend. He missed the race after feeling unwell on Saturday, October 10. However, he did not get re-tested until Sunday evening. The delay has raised questions about the Formula One safety protocols.
It may be remembered that Stroll complained of a "stomach bug" before qualifying at the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring a. His illness had the team scrambling for a replacement. Luckily, Nico Hulkenberg was in the vicinity and was ready to race. Even without any practice,the super-sub German took over from the stricken driver, and was a big sensation after qualifying last and finishing in 8th place.
A week and a half later, Stroll has finally come out to admit that he did not suffer from a stomach bug but was in fact infected by the novel coronavirus. In a statement posted on Twitter, he said that he tested negative during the mandatory F1 coronavirus test on Thursday. He went about the race weekend as normal before he woke up on Saturday feeling unwell and with an upset stomach.
He said that he immediately isolated in his motorhome and flew home on Sunday morning. After continuing to feel unwell, he got tested again in the evening. He got the confirmation that he was positive for COVID-19 on Monday.
The fact that he had been in the paddock just before exhibiting symptoms and he was not tested until Sunday night has raised a lot of questions. He had interacted with his team on Thursday and Friday, meaning they would have been compromised but were able to proceed with the race weekend as normal.
Twitter exploded with reactions to this information. "How much time was between your negative pre-race test and you feeling unwell?," asked one fan. "Racing point needs to check their bubble for leaks. A single positive test may happen but to have both drivers catch it may be cause for a very slight concern," said another. Stroll's teammate, Sergio Perez, tested positive for COVID-19 earier in the season after flying to Mexico to visit his mother.
Meanwhile, Stroll has confirmed that he only had mild symptoms and has now tested negative. He says that he is ready to race in Portugal.