Portugal GP 2020 - GP preview - Racing Point

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By Olivier Ferret

21 October 2020 - 18:40
Portugal GP 2020 - GP preview - (...)

Lance Stroll on his Covid-19 test

“I just want to let everyone know that I recently tested positive for Covid-19 after the Eifel GP weekend,” said Stroll in a statement.

“I am feeling 100% and have since tested negative.”

“To fill you in on what happened, I arrived at the Nurburgring after testing negative in the normal pre-race tests. On Saturday morning I started to feel unwell and woke up with an upset stomach. I followed the FIA protocol and self-isolated in my motorhome and did not re-enter the paddock. I wasn’t fit to race so I flew home early Sunday morning. As I was still feeling under the weather I took a Covid test on Sunday evening.

“The next day the results came back positive, so I stayed at home self-isolating for the next 10 days. Luckily, my symptoms were pretty mild. I was tested again on Monday this week and my results were negative. I feel in great shape and I can’t wait to be back with the team and to race in Portugal.”

Otmar Szafnauer

As stated by Lance on social media, Racing Point can confirm that he tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday 11th of October. Lance had left the team bubble in Germany on Saturday 10th October as he was unable to compete due to the effect of a recurring stomach upset.

Lance had first reported an upset stomach during the Russian Grand Prix week and subsequently tested negative for Covid-19 several times, tests taken in line with both the FIA and Racing Point’s own protocols.

He also tested negative before arrival in Germany in the official pre-event test for the Eifel Grand Prix. The upset stomach symptoms returned on Saturday which forced Lance to withdraw from the race and stay in his motorhome away from the paddock. He consulted with a doctor who did not believe his symptoms indicated Covid-19 and did not advise a test was necessary. Based on this clinical assessment, at the time there was no requirement to inform the FIA as to the nature of the illness.

Lance then flew home to Switzerland on a private plane on Sunday morning. In line with Racing Point’s enhanced testing protocol, under which all team members are tested on return from a Grand Prix, Lance took a Covid-19 test at home and received a positive result the next day. He continued to isolate for ten days from the date of the test, in line with local regulations. He returned a negative test on Monday this week and will travel to the Portuguese Grand Prix.

All members of the Racing Point team at the Eifel Grand Prix returned to the UK via a private charter flight and all tested negative upon their arrival, and again in their pre-event test for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Lance Stroll

Q: Few drivers have recent experience of Portimão, so do you expect the field to be levelled?

LS: “Maybe! We’re all professionals and, like all the teams, we’ll go in having done as much homework as we possibly could. On Friday, it’s going to be about how quickly we get up to speed and learn. I suspect by qualifying, everyone will be raring to go and maximising everything.”

Q: You’ve driven here in your junior single-seater career. What were your impressions of the circuit?

LS: “I raced there in European Formula 3 and I remember there being lots of elevation changes. It was also quite bumpy, but it’s now been repaved ahead of the Grand Prix. Regardless, the quick parts and elevation will really test drivers and I think it will be exciting to watch on TV.”

Q: Considering the lack of knowledge here, how important is a clean weekend?

LS: “It’s so competitive in Formula 1 that you always need to have a clean weekend, even at a more familiar circuit, so I don’t think it’ll be any different here. We just need to focus on our programme, work through it, and get everything out of the car over the course of the weekend. I’m excited to get going!”

Sergio Perez

Q: What’s your experience of driving in Portimão?

SP: “I drove there in GP2 back in 2009, but it was a long time ago and I don’t remember too much of the circuit! So it almost feels like going back to a totally new track. It’s going to be an exciting challenge for us all to try and get up to speed with it as quickly as we can.”

Q: Will the lack of experience across the grid level the playing field?

SP: “I think it will. We’re in the middle of a run of unfamiliar races now. We hadn’t raced at the Nürburgring for a long time until the last race, Portimão is totally new to F1, and we have Imola coming up. It’s unusual to have a run of races on tracks we don’t know well. As a driver, I enjoy that feeling. It’s always more of a challenge to race on a new circuit for the first time. I hope it can help mix things up and make for an exciting race for the fans.”

Q: What are your experiences of Portugal? Is it a place you enjoy visiting?

SP: “I speak a little bit of Portuguese, but I’ve not really spent time there. I think when the world is a bit more normal I will visit and experience the Algarve properly.”

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