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February 1, 2022

Formula 1 To Make COVID-19 Vaccinations Mandatory

Formula 1 will make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all personnel this year.

The policy drawn up by the sport’s governing body will be written into the regulations for the new season and will apply to all drivers, teams, media, and even hospitality guests. The move will mean no one will be able to work or move about within the paddock without being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The sport hopes the rule will avoid a repeat of the Novak Djokovic fiasco which overshadowed the build-up to the Australian Open.

All of the grid’s current drivers are understood to be vaccinated.

An F1 spokesperson said: “Formula One management will require all travelling personnel to be fully vaccinated and will not request exemptions.”

While it is understood the majority of personnel within the teams, F1, and the FIA have been moving towards the policy, the mandate will pose a dilemma for those opposed to compulsory vaccination.

FIA medical car driver Alan van der Merwe, for instance, has elected not to have the vaccine.

The decision to mandate vaccines, will lead to a relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions within Formula 1.

The frequency of testing will be reduced. In the case of a positive test, the close contacts will be identified based on national requirements.

The ‘bubble’ system introduced to limit people’s contacts to ensure minimum disruption in the event of a positive test will no longer be mandatory, but will continue to be highly recommended by the FIA.

The move comes as F1 prepares to embark on what it hopes will be a record 23-race calendar this season.

Since the start of the pandemic, four drivers have had to miss races as a result of catching COVID-19: Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll when they were competing for Racing Point in 2020, Lewis Hamilton at the penultimate race of the 2020 season, and Kimi Raikkonen at last year’s Dutch and Italian Grands Prix.

Meanwhile, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, and Nikita Mazepin have also contracted the virus out of competition.

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