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Van de Merwe to miss final races of the season

NEWS STORY
12/10/2021

Medical car driver, Alan Van der Merwe has revealed that he will miss all the remaining races of the 2021 season after testing positive for COVID.

Van der Merwe and his colleague, Dr Ian Roberts both missed the Turkish Grand Prix after testing positive, leaving the F1 medical car to be driven by Formula E's Safety Car driver Bruno Correia and Dr Bruno Franceschini.

Taking to social media, Van der Merwe revealed that he has not been vaccinated. Adding that his decision was due to "personal reasons" he was immediately subjected to the usual outraged mob mentality that sadly dominates the platform.

"In Switzerland (I'm half Swiss) and other developed countries, prior infection counts as much as a vaccine," he tweeted.

"I trust that those countries know what they're doing, and also respect countries' more restrictive rules and not travel there.

"I am fully aware that I will potentially be less employable or that my freedom of movement will be restricted based on my choices," he added.

"That I will not choose convenience over my own health does not mean I am making decisions out of selfishness. We all just want to be healthy."

With proof of vaccination required for entry to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and paddock area in Abu Dhabi, Van der Merwe will miss the remaining races.

It's understood that, among members of the F1 paddock, Van der Merwe is not alone in not wanting the vaccine, which means that there are likely to be further absentees at the remaining events.

"From what we understand, there's a couple of countries that you probably won't be allowed to enter the country, unless you're vaccinated," said race director, Michael Masi, according to Autosport. "Which is no different to, let's call it in some parts of the world, malaria shots or whatever it might be that you can't enter the country.

"You need to comply with those requirements to enter the country. And, you know, from that perspective, the FIA obviously has to respect the country's requirements to get in, and as will all the teams and everyone else."

Masi was also keen to make clear that Roberts tested positive independently of Van der Merwe.

"If one tested positive and the other one was negative, he would have turned up. But unfortunately, both of them actually tested positive," he said. "The only thing that the two of them can surmise is that obviously they spent a lot of time in the car together in Russia.

"Having spoken to both Alan and Ian multiple times over the weekend they're relatively okay, and have both been available all weekend on the end of the phone, or whatever needed to help Dr Bruno and Bruno in their acclimatisation into this world.

"Generally, we're very fortunate that within all of the various FIA championships, all us race directors talk very regularly.

"You've seen Eduardo Freitas who obviously is the WEC race director as clerk of the course in Portimao, and Scott Elkins and Niels Wittich, who are the Formula E race director and deputy doing a number of events as my deputy.

"So all of us working together is actually a regular thing. And it's the same with the doctors. Bruno Correia has actually been one of our driver advisors in F2 and F3 this year.

"So effectively, it's the broad family, and it was great for both of them to be available at short notice.

"And they're always sort of our first reserves in the case of something like that happening which none of us ever wish."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by elsiebc, 14/10/2021 14:28

""...obviously they spent a lot of time in the car together in Russia." But weren't they wearing masks?!?"

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