Should COVID-positive F1 drivers be allowed to compete?

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After Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel were both forced to skip events recently, Formula One’s stance on COVID-19 has been put into the spotlight.

After returning a positive COVID-19 test, four-time world champion Vettel was ruled out of the opening round of the 2022 season in Bahrain, with Aston Martin bringing in reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg to fill his position on the grid.

Vettel is the second F1 driver to test positive in a week, after McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo was forced to withdraw from the final pre-season test in Bahrain after testing positive for the virus as well.

There would have been no argument under the strict standards in place over the past two years; a positive test for anyone in the F1 paddock meant they were out of action and compelled to isolate. Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen, and Nikita Mazepin have all been forced to withdraw from races.

However, as COVID varieties evolve into milder symptoms, the world has moved on to a general attitude of living with it since last season. Even those with favourable results, according to the UK government, can return to work.

Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, claimed it would have been difficult for him to compete while suffering from COVID-19 since he was “very, very sick.”

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren Racing

Drivers aren’t wholly selfish, as Bottas claimed. They are aware that they must consider their coworkers as well as their extended families.

Unsurprisingly, team leaders want the protocols to be altered. Gunther Steiner, whose Haas team only ran one vehicle in last year’s Abu Dhabi GP after Mazepin tested positive after qualifying, thinks that the driver should have the last say.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin is anxiously awaiting the results of Vettel’s needed negative test in order for him to travel to Saudi Arabia on Friday. Otherwise, the German will be forced to sit out for the second weekend in a row.

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