Acting Williams F1 boss Roberts tests positive for COVID-19

Acting Williams Formula 1 team principal Simon Roberts will miss this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul after testing positive for COVID-19.

Williams announced on Wednesday evening that Roberts had been retested earlier in the day after showing minor symptoms for COVID-19, having previously returned a negative result on Monday.

This result returned positive, meaning Roberts has not travelled to Istanbul for the race weekend, and will now self-isolate as per the UK government guidelines. The team confirmed that Roberts is “feeling otherwise well” despite his symptoms.

Roberts’ duties at Istanbul Park will be split between team manager Dave Redding and chief engineer of vehicle design Adam Carter over the weekend. It comes one week after Williams confirmed it would be shuffling its on-site personnel for the Turkey race weekend following a number of positive COVID-19 cases.

The team confirmed in its statement about Roberts that he had “not been in close contact with any other members of our race team, and the team will continue to operate trackside as planned”.

The statement adds: “As a team, we have been taking part in a robust testing plan alongside adhering to the FIA Covid guidelines.”

Roberts assumed the role of acting team principal following the sale of Williams at the end of August and the subsequent departure of the Williams family, including team principal Sir Frank Williams and deputy team boss Claire Williams.

Roberts is the first senior F1 team manager known to have tested positive for COVID-19. Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll contracted the virus last month, around the same time his son, Racing Point driver Lance, also tested positive.

Racing Point is the only team to have been forced into driver changes as a result of positive COVID-19 cases, with both Stroll and teammate Sergio Perez missing events this season.

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.

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