F1 mandates full Covid vaccination for entire paddock

ยฉ XPB 

Formula 1 has made it mandatory for all staff - without exceptions - passing through the paddock's revolving gates in 2022 to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

F1 is on the verge of a record 23-race season and while many countries around the world have relaxed restrictions, the overwhelming majority of those visited by the sport require a full vaccination status.

F1 has thus chosen to enforce a mandate that will cover all individuals entering the paddock at every event. The directive was approved last month at a meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council.

"F1 will require all travelling personnel to be fully vaxxed and will not request exemptions," said a spokesperson for Formula One Management.

Vaccination mandates associated with sporting events came to the fore recently following the controversy involving tennis star Novak Djokovic who was eventually denied access to the Australian Open after a highly publicized legal battle with the country's government.

This year's Australian Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on April 10 and so far the event has been given the green light, but F1 is certainly keen to avoid any vaccine quarrel between the local government and members of its community.

The sport has successfully dealt with the Covid pandemic in the past two years thanks to the implementation of special restrictions and regular testing procedures that have limited contaminations, not only in the paddock but also within the confines of every teams' base and work place.

Despite many countries gradually relaxing protective measures, infection rates have been rising in the past month due to the more infectious Omicron variant.

F1 sporting director Steve Nielsen therefore remains cautious over F1's ability to run through its 2022 schedule without any major disruptions.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit worried, I am," Nielsen said earlier this month.

"The optimism that we perhaps had a couple of months ago that the pandemic was on the back foot has been knocked back a bit in the last two or three weeks.

"It's an ever-changing situation," he acknowledged. "Since the beginning this thing has risen up and fallen away depending on which region you're going into.

"Some of the more severe restrictions that we were seeing - certainly last year, and the first part of this year - countries are putting more robust protocols in place and learning to live with the virus.

"Hopefully that means they can continue to accept international visitors, which is obviously a massive, important thing we need in order to be able to carry our championship around."

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