Red Bull: Post-race celebrations the biggest 'test' of F1's Covid-19 measures

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Red Bull has suggested the post-race celebrations will pose the biggest "test" of Formula 1's ability to follow its new Covid-19 guidelines.

This weekend the new season finally gets underway in Austria but in very different circumstances as team personnel will be reduced, 'bubbles' will be introduced and PPE the new normal in garages up and down the pit-lane.

To gain a heads up on what F1 at a time of coronavirus is like, some teams have been testing at different circuits across Europe and Red Bull was among the last to hit the track doing so last Friday.

“We’ve been at Silverstone to get ourselves back up to speed, practising garage protocols and pitstop procedures with the new COVID-19 precautions in place,” team boss Christian Horner said.


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“As a trial run, this has been great for the team to enable them to get used to these procedures, which are a little bit foreign, but which are vitally important.

“By the time we get to Austria, these procedures will be the new normal and today ensures that everybody knows what’s expected of them when we get to Austria. It’s important for the safety of our team and everyone around us in Formula 1.”

Though there is high confidence that the risk of a Covid-19 case in the paddock is very low due to the protocols in place, Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul is still very wary of the potential impact should one arise.

“It’s a balance between the risk, the practicability and the necessity of the operation - that balance is difficult to find," he told of what it's like working in F1's new normal.

“I think the biggest challenge would be in the implementation between the operational group and sub-group [within each team].

“There is a risk that one single person in the team [could become infected] and that means that the whole team is out for at least the time of the test.

“And because the test can take a full day, 24 hours, we can see that if a positive case is happening on a Saturday morning, you are not going to qualify, and you are not going to participate in the race.

“We still need to have a bit of a discussion on how to balance risk and some common sense and participation within the sport," the Renault boss added. "Although I completely understand and praise the work that has been done between the FIA and the teams.”

But while abiding by the coronavirus measures is likely to be in the back of everyone's mind during the weekend, Red Bull chief Horner admits the post-race scenario is when social distancing will be tested the most.

“The strangest thing will be either going to the grid or the post-race procedure,” he said.

“What do you do? Tap elbows with someone afterwards if you have a good result?

“There is always a lot of emotion when you are at the end of a Grand Prix, especially if you are lucky enough to get a result, so that is going to test discipline to the full."