Drivers call for end to F1’s covid era
"I try to remain as disciplined as I was two years ago"
Sebastian Vettel says he’s feeling "fine" despite being sidelined for the season opening Bahrain GP this weekend.
Just as Daniel Ricciardo returns to action after a week off with covid-19, quadruple world champion Vettel has succumbed to the same infection - and F1’s strict ’no race’ policy that applies for the third season in a row.
It is believed the Aston Martin driver may also miss the Saudi GP in a week.
"It is what it is," the 34-year-old German told f1-insider.com from his home in Switzerland.
"I’m fine in the circumstances. I keep my fingers crossed for the team and Nico (Hulkenberg) for the opening race."
The latest travails for Ricciardo and Vettel, however, have highlighted an uncomfortable fact for F1 - that the new season could be significantly covid-marred even though the illness poses no major risk to most healthy athletes.
"I try to remain as disciplined as I was two years ago," Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz said in Bahrain. "But I won’t lie. It’s exhausting. Especially having to wear a mask all the time.
"Perhaps my opinion is controversial, but I believe we should move on and continue to live. As I said, it is difficult for me to maintain discipline."
Sergio Perez agrees that the time has come for Formula 1 to reconsider how it intends to race on in a world in which covid-19 is here to stay.
"There’s so much we’ve learned with covid now," said the Mexican. "There is only so much you can do.
"Going forward it’s something that we should discuss - whether we allow the drivers to race with covid if their symptoms are mild.
"At least it makes sense to have that discussion," Perez added.