Why F1 was split into Bahrain vaccination offers – Motorsports

Bahraini Government Offers COVID-19 Vaccination A difficult question left the F1 team and other teams in the championship-should they pick it up?

Eventually, views were divided on national routes that reflected the efficient deployment of vaccines in the United Kingdom. Organizations based in the UK left the choices to individuals, while organizations from elsewhere were generally more aggressive.

The arrival of the COVID vaccine has always been a difficult problem for F1 to address. On the other hand, given that travel is involved, staff should be vaccinated as soon as possible, both for obvious personal health reasons and to address ongoing travel restrictions around the world. Is logical.

On the other hand, if people in F1 were considered to have special status and were jumping in the queue, there was a very obvious PR issue. Negative tabloid headlines followed by social media fallout would have been very damaging.

In early February, the new F1 boss Stefano Domenicali clarified his position on the organization’s own travel staff.

“This is a very important point,” he said. “You can take it from both sides. Sure, what I can tell you is the priority, which is the most vulnerable. On our side, we don’t want to jump into the vaccination line.

“Vaccination is very important. I am looking forward to getting vaccinated. Everyone should be at this moment.

“We are thinking about what the discussion is about, so if possible, discuss it internally and share it with the team, but think carefully, and of course check and respect the situation. Must be all vulnerable people.

“We don’t want to be seen as robbing it, so we have a lot of respect for what the government says and what people do, but we need to be careful in that regard. Yes, all I can say is that I want to be vaccinated immediately. “

Guests and dignitaries on the grid with FOM CEO Stefano Domenicali

Photo: Zak Mauger / Motorsport image

The boss of the team expressed a similar opinion. We wait for our turn.

Since then, vaccination deployments have progressed rapidly in the United Kingdom. Starting with vulnerable groups and seniors, invitations to join have already reached over 50s and will be extended to younger people in the coming weeks.

In EU countries, progress is much slower and can take months to reach a typical working age population.

The situation in F1 changed on February 28 when the Bahraini government officially announced an offer to vaccinate foreign visitors.

The statement states: “As part of the Kingdom’s extensive vaccination campaign, which has achieved one of the highest vaccination rates in the world and is currently providing five different vaccines to the Kingdom’s population, Bahrain has made the program a major in the Kingdom. Expanding to events. Voluntarily – The timescale brings additional benefits to both participants and the public. ”

A strict and important requirement was a 21-day gap between the two doses. This is a number that F1 people can reach by leaving late, even if they arrive early before the test and return to Europe after the race.

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been designated. This also meant that the visitor was unable to make the first dose in Bahrain and was unable to take another different product upon return.

This offer made everyone in F1 think. When it was announced, the F1 organization immediately confirmed that it would not formally accept the offer on behalf of the travel staff, in line with Domenicali’s previous statement.

Alpine F1 Fernando Alonso chats with Carlos Sainz Sr. in the paddock

Alpine F1 Fernando Alonso chats with Carlos Sainz Sr. in the paddock

Photo: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport image

A spokeswoman said F1 “has no plans to be vaccinated as a travel group prior to the deployment of vaccines already established through the UK healthcare system,” but within and between teams and F1 and the FIA. Discussions continued between. Concerns about sending the wrong message remained part of the story, Even after Qatar made a similar offer to MotoGP It prompted a logical explanation as to why it was widely accepted.

Promoter Dorna Sports calls it a “great opportunity” and states: “The vaccination program aims to increase the personal safety of everyone in the field.

“This will enhance the protection of anyone in the MotoGP paddock and anyone who comes into contact with the sport as it travels around the world this season.”

plus: 10 things I learned from the 2021 F1 test

Apart from the obvious PR issues, there were various complex issues facing F1 such as personal choices and medical privacy.

In essence, the team could not require staff to be vaccinated against Bahrain, but could not formally prevent them from receiving an offer. If someone wanted to protect themselves and their families by being vaccinated early rather than later, they had the freedom to make that choice.

An important consideration is that the NHS vaccine will be available to all, even if it means that the British team will wait weeks or months before reaching the 20s of the traveling crew. Was that he knew.

Another factor was the potential adoption of vaccine passports in the UK to facilitate travel and more. It is not yet clear what the UK Government’s position will be on giving such documents to people vaccinated abroad outside the NHS system.

In addition, the 21-day requirement makes mechanics and hospitality / garage setups likely to be in Bahrain unrealistic for key people who arrive late for the test and have a schedule to depart shortly after the race. It was more convenient for the staff. The whole period.

Roy Nissany, development driver, Williams FW43B

Roy Nissany, development driver, Williams FW43B

Photo: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport image

When asked one after another by the British team bosses in Bahrain, he said the same thing – we have no policy, and we left it to our personal choice.

“We saw it, it was a very kind offer,” said Simon Roberts, principal of the Williams team. “But obviously the situation in the UK is quite different from the rest of Europe, and as a team we have decided that we have no intention of setting any enforcement policy.

“But if the members of the team want to do something different, it’s entirely up to them. But as a team, we will continue our UK vaccination policy.”

“We haven’t set any policies,” confirmed Alpine’s Marcin Budkowski. “Our team is up to the individual to decide what he or she wants to do.”

“We decided to leave it to the individual,” said Aston Martin boss Otmar Safnauer. “It was a very kind offer by Burrainis.

“So we left it, it was an individual choice, and because of that, I’m not asking which individual opt-in or opt-out. I’m very old and UK I can happily say that I was vaccinated at! “

The situation was different for businesses outside the UK. Given the slow deployment across the EU, AlphaTauri has made vaccination an official policy and arranged travel arrangements on a 21-day schedule.

“All Scuderia AlphaTauri team members were vaccinated on Tuesday,” said team boss Franz Tost when asked by Autosport.

“As you know, health is the most important factor, so stay one or two days longer after the second vaccination race.

Franz Tost, Team Principal, AlphaTauri

Franz Tost, Team Principal, AlphaTauri

Photo: Mark Sutton / Motorsport image

“As a team principal, I am responsible for the health of the people, so I gave this vaccination. I am grateful to Bahrain for providing this possibility.

“In Europe, especially in Austria and Italy, we don’t know how long we will wait to get vaccinated. Therefore, we are more than happy.”

Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto, who confirmed that the team first clarified its position with the Italian authorities, suggested that the situation was less clear. It was still an individual choice, but the team members were happy to do it.

“I think [it was] It’s a very kind offer and a great opportunity for us, “he said. “It was an individual choice, but most teams got it and accepted it. I have to say that the organization was great and the way it was organized was very clean and smooth.

“I’m pretty happy myself, I did it. Yes, I checked with the Italian authorities and confirmed that there were no bad or wrong signs.

“But I think everyone was happy to take this opportunity. As I said, it was an individual choice, but almost everyone on the team accepted it.”

Ferrari’s decision, like Alpine, is underpinned by the fact that the team remains after the Pirelli 18-inch lava car test in Bahrain, making it easier to meet the 21-day requirement.

Pirelli, an international company with strict corporate duty of care guidelines for 31,000 employees worldwide, welcomed the opportunity to protect F1 people. They will return from Bahrain to Italy on a charter with Ferrari and AlphaTauri on Thursday after the race.

“All staff who traveled for testing and racing were vaccinated,” a tire company spokesman confirmed.

“No one hated this. Pirelli is very careful about COVID. Even at home, the company is very followable. The company makes sure everyone is checked regularly. doing.”

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Photo: Charles Coates / Motorsport image

Alfa Romeo has not issued an official statement – ​​ironically the boss Frederick Vasul got stuck at home after a positive test.. However, Swiss teams, such as the EU, which have longer vaccine wait times than the UK, also followed their personal choices.

The driver was also free to make his own choice.

“I decided to take it,” Sergio Perez said. “For me, I don’t know when I can get it back in Mexico, so I think it was very good from Bahrain to offer it to us.”

“Yes, it’s the same as in the Czech Republic,” said Carlos Sainz Jr. And I think it was a great opportunity. And obviously, I am grateful to the Bahraini government for providing it to many people traveling around the world. “

It remains an emotional subject and there is controversy in both directions. If a traveling British citizen happens to be vaccinated abroad, why would someone at home object? When they return, they are not only more secure for all contacts, but also one less person in the NHS queue.

Although it is worth pointing out that much of Bahrain’s population has not yet been vaccinated, all visitors who receive the two jabs argue that they require locals to wait a little longer. can do. Is that so?

One thing is clear: the FIA ​​and F1 have no plans to eventually mandate vaccination for admission to the paddock, as it is a matter of personal choice.

Wear a face mask reminder with a start finish straight

Wear a face mask reminder with a start finish straight

Photo: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport image

– Motorsports

Why F1 was split into Bahrain vaccination offers Why F1 was split into Bahrain vaccination offers

Back to top button