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Drivers call for end to F1’s covid era


Sebastian Vettel says he’s feeling “fine” despite being sidelined for the season opening Bahrain GP this weekend.

Sebastian Vettel says he’s feeling “fine” despite being sidelined for the season opening Bahrain GP this weekend.

Just as Daniel Ricciardo returns to action after a week off with covid-19, quadruple world champion Vettel has succumbed to the same infection – and F1’s strict ‘no race’ policy that applies for the third season in a row.

It is believed the Aston Martin driver may also miss the Saudi GP in a week.

“It is what it is,” the 34-year-old German told f1-insider.com from his home in Switzerland.

“I’m fine in the circumstances. I keep my fingers crossed for the team and Nico (Hulkenberg) for the opening race.”

The latest travails for Ricciardo and Vettel, however, have highlighted an uncomfortable fact for F1 – that the new season could be significantly covid-marred even though the illness poses no major risk to most healthy athletes.

“I try to remain as disciplined as I was two years ago,” Ferrari‘s Carlos Sainz said in Bahrain. “But I won’t lie. It’s exhausting. Especially having to wear a mask all the time.

“Perhaps my opinion is controversial, but I believe we should move on and continue to live. As I said, it is difficult for me to maintain discipline.”

Sergio Perez agrees that the time has come for Formula 1 to reconsider how it intends to race on in a world in which covid-19 is here to stay.

“There’s so much we’ve learned with covid now,” said the Mexican. “There is only so much you can do.

“Going forward it’s something that we should discuss – whether we allow the drivers to race with covid if their symptoms are mild.

“At least it makes sense to have that discussion,” Perez added.

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