F1 news: FIA race directors test positive for Covid-19 ahead of Miami race

Medical information about the governing International Automobile Federation (FIApersonnel )'s could not be disclosed "unless it is relevant to the running of an event," according to a spokesman for the FIA.

Eduardo Frittas and Niels Wittich in a file photo. (Image: Twitter)
By Nilavro Ghosh | Apr 28, 2022 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, two race directors, have both tested positive for Covid-19, raising questions about who will be in charge of next week’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix, according to British media (April 27). The news, which was first reported by the Daily Telegraph and Sky Sports television, was confirmed by a reliable source to Reuters. Medical information about the governing International Automobile Federation (FIApersonnel)’s could not be disclosed “unless it is relevant to the running of an event,” according to a spokesman for the FIA.

Both men tested positive after last weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the Imola circuit in Italy, according to Sky. Regardless of vaccination status, travel to the United States currently requires a negative test taken no more than a day before departure. Friday, May 6 is the first day of practise for the May 8 race.

Following a review of last year’s controversial season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, the Portuguese Freitas and the German Wittich were appointed as alternating replacements for now-departed Australian Michael Masi in February. Late in the race, Masi changed the safety car procedures, effectively handing the drivers’ title to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. If neither race director is available for the race at Hard Rock Stadium, British veterans Herbie Blash and Colin Haywood could step in.

Verstappen’s dominating win in Imola

As Ferrari failed to deliver on home soil, Max Verstappen won a dramatic wet-dry Emilia Romagna Grand Prix over Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, with Charles Leclerc spinning late on to finish sixth after Carlos Sainz retired. The Dutchman won the Sprint on Saturday and led off the line on Sunday, with teammate Perez joining him at the front – while Leclerc dropped to fourth for a brief moment. On the first lap, the Safety Car was deployed after Daniel Ricciardo tipped Carlos Sainz into the gravel and forced him out of the race for the second consecutive Grand Prix.

On Lap 19, as the track dried, drivers began to switch from inters to mediums, with Perez coming in first, followed by Verstappen and Leclerc one lap later. The Monegasque started just ahead of Perez, but with warmer tyres, Perez skated past for P2 and then held off the Ferrari. The Red Bulls followed Leclerc’s late gamble to pit for softs from P3 and retain the lead, but Perez spun and hit the wall at Variante Alta on Lap 54, again in pursuit of the championship leader. He dropped to ninth after pitting for a new nose and softs, and only made it to P6 at the finish.