Lance Stroll reveals positive Covid-19 test, but fit for Portuguese GP
Stroll withdrew from Eifel GP due to illness, and tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday evening; But negative result before Portugal
Last Updated: 21/10/20 4:43pm
Racing Point driver Lance Stroll has revealed he tested positive for Covid-19 following the Eifel GP, but is now feeling "100 per cent" and will take part in this weekend's race in Portugal.
Stroll did not take part in Formula 1 2020's 11th round at the Nurburgring after feeling unwell on Saturday morning, after which Nico Hulkenberg replaced him for the rest of the weekend.
He had tested negative for coronavirus in Tuesday's pre-race screening, but another test on the Sunday evening returned a positive result.
"I just want to let everyone know that I recently tested positive for Covid-19 after the Eifel GP weekend," said Stroll on Wednesday ahead of the Portuguese GP. "I am feeling 100 per cent and have since tested negative."
F1 has strict coronavirus protocols in the paddock this season, with social distancing, masks and team-by-team 'bubbles', and Stroll said he isolated ever since Saturday morning. He was, however, conducting media duties on Thursday and was with the team during Friday's practice wash-out.
"To fill you in on what happened, I arrived at the Nurburgring after testing negative in the normal pre-race tests," he explained.
"On Saturday morning I started to feel unwell and woke up with an upset stomach. I followed the F.I.A. 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."
Racing Point explain protocol, team members negative
Racing Point issued a statement later on Wednesday explaining the timeline of events, and why Stroll wasn't tested immediately following his withdrawal from the Eifel GP.
"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," said team boss Otmar Szafnauer.
"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 10 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."
Szafnauer then confirmed that all of the Racing Point team members in Germany returned negative test results.
"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."
The sport returns to Portugal for the first time in 24 years this weekend for a debut race at Portimao, and Stroll says he is ready to race again.
"I was tested again on Monday this week and my results were negative," he said. "I feel in great shape and I can't wait to be back with the team and to race in Portugal."
Stroll's coronavirus case means both full-time Racing Point drivers have contracted the virus this season, with team-mate Sergio Perez missing the two races at Silverstone.
Hulkenberg, who also deputised for Perez, finished eighth at the Eifel GP, scoring four points in Stroll's absence. Racing Point are third in the standings, just ahead of McLaren and Renault.