The 2021 Formula 1 season has yet to begin, but some teams are already facing some problems. Scuderia Ferrari announced that Charles Leclerc has contracted and tested positive for COVID-19. The Ferrari driver announced on social media that he had come into contact with someone that tested positive. He subsequently took a test that came back positive.
Thankfully, Leclerc says that he is “feeling ok” and is experiencing “only mild symptoms” of the disease. The Ferrari driver is currently isolating at his home in Monaco in compliance with regulations set by health authorities in the country.
As unfortunate as the situation is, it could have been worse for the Ferrari Formula 1 team if Leclerc contracted the virus after the 2021 season began. Had he been infected after the season opener in Bahrain, Leclerc may have missed one or two races, depending on his condition.
With Leclerc, he becomes the fifth Formula 1 driver to contract the virus. Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll, and even 7-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton all missed races in the 2020 season after testing positive. More recently, McLaren driver Lando Norris is isolating in Dubai after contracting the disease earlier this month.
Given the situation of the pandemic, Formula 1 organizers also adjusted their race schedule for the 2021 season. Rather than holding the season opener in Australia as usual, the 2021 season will begin in Bahrain on March 28. The Australian Grand Prix is scheduled to take place sometime in November instead.
If anything, this is a reminder for everyone to take the pandemic seriously. Let's not forget that the virus is still around, and it can infect anyone regardless of status, Formula 1 drivers included.