Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer says the company carries out the most Covid-19 tests of any business in the world in the wake of Lance Stroll’s positive result.
Stroll felt unwell on Saturday morning at the Nürburgring due to a stomach upset, with which he had struggled since the preceding event in Russia.
He had been tested for Covid-19 several times, most recently on the pre-event Tuesday, and returned a negative result on each occasion.
Stroll withdrew from the race event, self-isolated in his motorhome, before taking a private plane home to Switzerland early on Sunday morning.
Racing Point opted not to test Stroll for Covid-19 at the Nürburgring, stating a doctor did not feel it necessary, but he carried out a test upon returning home in line with team protocols.
That test came back positive but he has since completed a period of self-isolation and returned a negative test on Monday, clearing him to compete in Portugal this weekend.
Szafnauer dismissed suggestions that Racing Point had been negligent in not testing Stroll on Saturday at the Nürburgring and highlighted the team’s stringent policy.
“We have Eurofins as the pre-event tester, then we have the post-event test takes place wherever we land, so sometimes Luton, sometimes Birmingham, Oxford Airport, wherever we land that’s where we hire people to come and do the test for us,” he said.
“I do want to point out to everybody that we test more than any other business on the planet. Not just Formula 1 teams, any other business on the planet.
“We test every employee twice a week at the factory, we have done more than 15,000 tests, we’ve had six positives, we test and take this virus more seriously than anybody.
“We test all of our staff upon arrival from a grand prix so they have the piece of mind when they go home that they don’t pick anything up.
“I think the world is learning, the FIA is learning, we’re learning, we’ve done 15,000 tests, we’re at the front of the curve.
“Could he have had an upset stomach and Covid and they’re not linked? Could very well be. Had we not tested Sunday night, like we always do, as we test everyone upon arrival, everybody, had we not done that test and Lance would have just taken the pre-event test we wouldn’t have known, he’d have been negative.”
Szafnauer added that Racing Point sees no reason to modify its policy.
“Well look if I thought our process was wrong I would change it but like I say we at Racing Point test every Tuesday and Friday, every employee, the travelling employees get pre-event and post-event test,” he said.
“The FIA have now introduced I understand a test you have to take 24 hours from entering the paddock, that’s new, I think, for everybody in the paddock.
“I think with what we do at Racing Point, and the changes the FIA made, I’m not going to do anything else, there’s nothing else to do. We test everyone before [an event], coming back [from an event], and if you come into the factory twice a week, Tuesday and Friday.
“We test so much, and so much more than anybody else, than any business on the planet.
“I was thinking yesterday: who else tests as much as we do? I don’t think anybody.
“At the beginning, I personally took this very seriously, I brought in consultants in the UK to help me, who told me what other businesses were doing, businesses our size and bigger business, and we do 10 times more than those consultants knew that anybody else does.”
All Racing Point personnel returned negative tests upon travelling home from the Nürburgring.