Formula 1 boss Chase Carey said that a race would not be cancelled after the season restarts even if a driver or a member of any team tests positive for the novel coronavirus.
The chairman and chief executive officer of F1 spoke after the racing organisation announced that the first eight races of the rescheduled 2020 season would start in Austria on July 5.
Back in March, the season-opener Australian Grand Prix was called off after a McLaren team member tested positive for the virus.
Carey said, "We will have a procedure in place that finding an infection will not lead to a cancellation. If a driver has an infection, reserve drivers are available. The array of 'what ifs' are too wide to play out every one of them, but a team not being able to race wouldn't cancel the race. There is a rigorous set of guidelines - it's 80-90 pages. We need to make sure we have procedures to manage all those risks."
The statement made by Carey is similar to the statements that Jean Todt, the president of the FIA, and the FIA's chief medical officer, Professor Gerard Saillant, had previously made. Such statements indeed raise a series of questions.
Previously, Carey wanted the race in Melbourne to continue despite the growing number of coronavirus infections. However, F1 couldn't organise the event after seven out of the 10 teams refused to race.
Questions have been raised over how F1 could successfully control any potential virus spread if any team member tests positive, given the close proximity of individuals working within the teams.
Carey mentioned that he is confident about the potential of the strict protocols F1 is setting up to minimise the risk associated with the coronavirus. He believes that these protocols would be sufficient to allay concerns regarding COVID-19 infections.
According to the BBC, the test-and-trace and isolation protocols have been discussed not only with team principals but also with the companies that own these teams, such as Daimler and Ferrari.
It is said that everyone has agreed to the regulations and teams have accepted F1's proposal of continuing races in the event of a small number of coronavirus positive tests.
The Austrian Grand Prix will be the first of eight European races that will end with the Italian Grand Prix on September 6. More races are expected to be organised if no further complications arise.