Wolff: Mercedes drivers ‘living like hermits’ to avoid COVID-19

Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are exerting extreme caution and “living like hermits” to minimize the risks of contracting COVID-19.

Ahead of this weekend’s Eifel GP, Mercedes was forced to isolate four members of its personnel following the diagnosis of two cases of COVID-19 in its team.

According to Wolff, championship leaders Hamilton and Bottas have adopted extreme measures away and at the race track to avoid the fate that befell their colleague Sergio Perez earlier this year, when the Racing Point driver was sidelined for two races after testing positive for COVID-19 at Silverstone.

“Obviously, the drivers are the most restricted of the whole team,” Wolff explained. “It’s certainly not a great situation for them because you almost need to live like a hermit and that’s what they are doing.

“They are [staying] at home. They are not going out for dinners. They are not meeting any other people within the team that we do.

The debriefs are via Zoom or Microsoft Teams, they’re not sitting with the engineers in the room – they’re sitting in their own rooms.

“We are avoiding as much as possible any personal contact with them individually, we tried to do it as – literally – stepping into the car and driving the car, keeping the safe distance whilst we belt them in and then drive.”

    Read also: Mercedes suffers second positive COVID case – isolates staff

After Mercedes identified and isolated the team members who had been in contact with the two individuals that had tested positive, it flew in from the UK additional members of personnel.

“We flew six people in yesterday from the UK and they were all tested,” Wolff said.

“It’s certainly not a good situation because every person is very important. But I guess this is something that’s going to follow us for quite a while.”

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