Formula 1 is finally back!
This is the latest start of the season in the history of Formula 1. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all races this year have been postponed. It all began with the cancellation of the season kickoff in Melbourne, Australia in March 2020 when a member of the McLaren Racing Team was tested positive for COVID-19. Although initially a huge disappointment for fans and F1 teams to the delight of everyone, F1 is back to racing! The first Grand Prix, the “Formula 1 Rolex Grosser Preis von Österreich”, is at the Red Bull Ring in Austria from July 3rd to 5th 2020.
In order to make the return to racing possible, many health and safety solutions and strict hygiene measures that prevent the potential spread of SARS-CoV-2 at the races have been put in place.
Eurofins is happy to announce that we have been entrusted by F1 to carry out the COVID-19 testing for the upcoming racing events. Testing is performed as part of the Eurofins SAFER@WORK™ Programme and is in close coordination with the race organisers and the local health authorities. During the first race in Austria alone, 10,000 to 12,000 coronavirus tests will be performed!
How is the COVID-19 testing performed?
All members of the racing teams and staff are tested according to the protocol (at least every 5 days). Under the professional supervision of doctors, samples are collected from the throat and nose with a swab (oropharyngeal samples) and immediately placed into a sterile tube for transportation.
Adhering to high safety and hygiene standards, the samples are transported directly to the Eurofins Genomics European headquarter in Ebersberg, Germany, twice a day, where they are processed and analysed in government licensed clinical laboratories. Results are then returned in 16 to 24 hours after sample collection.
How do we identify a SARS-CoV-2 infection?
Molecular biological methods are highly effective for the identification of SARS-CoV-2 infections. For the analysis of the samples from the F1 team members and staff, we us a method called real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR), where the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is extracted and subsequently detected. This analysis method is performed in compliance with the recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For a more detailed ovierview of the method, see our SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Facts article.
At what races are we testing for COVID-19?
Eurofins will provide COVID-19 testing for the F1 drivers, teams and staff at the following events:
- Formula 1 Rolex Grosser Preis von Osterreich, The Red Bull Ring in Austria, July 3rd to 5th.
- Formula 1 Pirelli Grosser Preis der Steiermark, The Red Bull Ring in Austria, July 10th to 12th.
- Formula 1 Aramco Magyar Nagydij, The Hungaroring in Hungary, July 17th to 19th.
- Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix, Silverstone in the UK, July 31st to August 2nd.
- Emirates Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Silverstone in the UK, August 7th to 9th.
- Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix (Aramco Gran Premio De España) at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain, August 14th to 16th.
- Formula 1 Rolex Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, August 28th to 30th.
- Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix (Gran Premio Heineken D’italia) at Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Italy, September 4th to 6th.
- Formula 1 Tuscan Grand Prix (Formula 1 Pirelli Gran Premio della Toscana Ferrari 1000) at Mugello Circuit, Italy, September 11th to 13th.
- Formula 1 Eifel Grand Prix (Formula 1 Aramco Grosser Preis Der Eifel) at Nürburgring, Germany, October 9th to 11th.
UPDATE for races where we are testing for COVID-19
- Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix (Formula 1 Heineken Grande Prémio De Portugal) at Algarve International Circuit, October 23rd to 25th.
- MORE TO COME!
The services of the Eurofins SAFER@WORK™ programme are designed to support business continuity and the reduction of COVID-19 contamination risk of your staff and customers.
Learn more about our comprehensive services here!
UPDATE about Grand Prix in Austria
For the two F1 Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, around 2,500 people were tested for COVID-19. This included F1 drivers and teams, as well as supporting personnel such as security, catering and cleaning staff. People were tested every 5 days!
Only people with negative test results were granted entrance to the “red zone” with the paddocks and other high density areas.
For safe and extra fast delivery of samples, the Red Bull helicopter was utilised a couple of times, as seen in this video clip:
Check out these impressions from the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix Aramco Magyar Nagydij at the Hungaroring in Hungary.
Check out these impressions from the Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix at Silverstone in the UK.