All F1 drivers, team personnel, media, hospitality and guests must be fully vaccinated for the 2022 F1 season and beyond.
F1 is to introduce mandatory Covid vaccination for the 2022 season with the change affecting all team personnel, drivers, hospitality workers and guests. It will severely restrict any unvaccinated members of the F1 community, however the changes will also reportedly lead to the relaxation of the current Covid protocols to allow more freedom within the F1 paddock.
The sport has previously introduced Covid controls to limit mixing when the season started in mid 2020, such as the team bubbles. While these procedures continue to be pushed for now, the main focus for F1 is now on vaccination.
According to BBC Sport “A spokesman for F1 – which runs the commercial side of the sport, including deciding the calendar – said: “F1 (FOM) will require all travelling personnel to be fully vaxxed and will not request exemptions.”
The idea of introducing mandatory vaccines for the F1 paddock was agreed some time ago, but was not initially communicated to the teams: “The plan for all personnel to be vaccinated was agreed at last month’s meeting of the world council of governing body the FIA but there has been a delay in communicating it.”
It is also reported that “the sport will also follow the vaccine and wider Covid policies of each national government of the countries it visits”, indicating a a more integrated approach to each Grand Prix.
While mandatory vaccination will the main focus for F1 to reduce Covid transmission, the BBC is also stating individual cases for exemption will be considered during the season. This will however, not cover recovering from the virus: “BBC Sport understands that the FIA is willing to consider individual exemptions on a case-by-case basis, as long as the individual in question was prepared to have a more rigorous testing regime than fully vaccinated people. Having recovered from Covid will not be accepted as an exemption”.
The new policy will also phase out regular testing, adopting individual government approaches to positive cases: “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 site adds.
The BBC is also stating that the mandatory vaccine policy “is not expected to have an impact on any of the drivers’ ability to compete as all are understood to be vaccinated.” Multiple drivers have caught Covid during the last two seasons, most notably Lewis Hamilton. He missed the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after testing positive, with George Russell replacing him.