Wednesday evening, the team Williams Racing jointly announced with the FIA and Formula 1 that the Acting Team Principal Simon Roberts has tested positive for COVID-19, prior to travelling to Istanbul for this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.
According to the joint statement, Roberts returned a negative test on Monday during the team’s regular COVID testing schedule. However after displaying minor symptoms, he underwent a further test Wednesday morning which returned a positive result. The team reports Simon is feeling otherwise well, but will be isolating for the required 10-day period.
In regards with UK national guidelines, Roberts has not been in close contact with any other members of the Williams Racing team, and the team will consequently continue to operate trackside as planned, with Roberts supporting the operations remotely. Dave Redding, Team Manager, and Chief Engineer of Vehicle Design, Adam Carter, will assume his responsibilities on the ground at the Istanbul Park. Williams Racing is adamant that the team has been taking part in a robust testing plan alongside adhering to the FIA Covid guidelines. All personnel in the F1 paddock are required to undergo rigorous screening for COVID-19, requiring a test at least every five days, and one within 24 hours of arriving on-site. This must return negative before they are permitted to enter the paddock.
Roberts is the first senior F1 team manager known to have tested positive for COVID-19, after Racing Point’s owner Lawrence Stroll contracted the virus last month. The Briton was announced in the beginning of September, as Acting Team Principal during a transitional time period, following the sale of the Williams stable, with Claire Williams stepping down as Deputy Team Principal.