Stroll tested positive for COVID-19 after Eifel Grand Prix

Racing Point driver Lance Stroll has confirmed he tested positive for COVID-19 on the Sunday evening of the Eifel Grand Prix, but has returned a negative test ahead of this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.

Stroll opted not to race at the Eifel Grand Prix after he woke up on Saturday morning feeling unwell. He was replaced by Nico Hulkenberg for qualifying and the race, but did not get tested again for COVID-19 until Sunday night once he had flown home.

On Saturday evening, Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer gave an update on Stroll’s condition, saying he was “happy it’s not COVID-19” as Stroll had returned a negative test on the Tuesday ahead of the race.

However, Stroll, who had been experiencing flu-like symptoms for over a week, posted on Instagram ahead of this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix that he tested positive once he had flown home.

“I just want to let everyone know that I recently tested positive for COVID-19 after the Eifel GP weekend,” he wrote. “I am now feeling 100 percent 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 geat shape and I can’t wait to be back with the team and to race in Portugal.”

The news exposes a potential loophole in the FIA’s testing procedure as Stroll displayed symptoms strong enough to miss a race weekend on Saturday morning but was not tested again for COVID-19 until Sunday evening.

The governing body’s COVID Code of Conduct requires all personnel to isolate and take a test if they experience symptoms in order to detect positive cases and inform close contacts to isolate as well. However, the decision not to test Stroll immediately meant the virus was not detected until after the event and his close contacts could continue to work in the paddock.

Speaking on Sunday night after the Eifel Grand Prix — and before Stroll’s test result had come back positive — FIA race director Michael Masi denied there was a loophole.

“We don’t feel there is any loophole,” he said. “The requirement being for Lance or any other attendee on that matter, there is the various test requirements prior to entering the paddock and the follow up testing from that point.

“Within our perspective and based on the Tuesday test, his next test would have been Sunday morning to fulfil the requirements of the FIA COVID protocol. So that one is quite simple.

“With regards to Lance feeling ill, like any other driver, it’s incumbent on the driver, and any competitor in this case, Racing Point, to determine if they feel their driver is not up to capacity to drive the car, which they obviously chose to do yesterday. And it’s incumbent upon Racing Point as the stakeholder in this case and Lance himself as an attendee to declare within the parameters of the protocol, if they are having any of those requirements and then there is the requirement from there to report.

“None of that has been reported to the FIA so there’s nothing further from our perspective at this point in time.”

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