Lewis Hamilton is uncertain if his bid to match Michael Schumacher’s victory record in Germany will be rocked after a Mercedes team member contracted coronavirus.
The individual returned a positive result on Thursday at the Nurburging ahead of this weekend’s Eifel Grand Prix. Under German law, he faces up to 10 days in quarantine.
The PA news agency understands that up to five additional staff from Hamilton’s team, who have been in contact with the individual, are in isolation as they await the outcome of their re-tests. They will also be sidelined from the 11th round of the campaign if they have contracted the disease.
We can confirm that a team member has tested positive for COVID-19. This has been handled and is being handled in line with FIA protocols, working closely with the FIA.
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) October 8, 2020
“The guys on the team work so hard to stay safe and be here, so it is definitely a concern,” said championship leader Hamilton, who is just one win short of Schumacher’s tally of 91.
“I cannot say what it will do this weekend. We have a lot of great people within the team and it is not just about one person.
“We will try to make him proud this weekend but it is going to take a lot of work to make sure that we continue without any disturbances.”
Mercedes are keeping the identity of the individual secret but it is understood he is not a high-ranking member of the team.
A spokesperson for the world champions said: “We can confirm that a team member has tested positive. This has been handled and is being handled in line with FIA protocols, working closely with the FIA.”
Thursday’s positive result marks just the second significant case to impact the Formula One season which launched in July.
Mexican driver Sergio Perez missed the British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix at Silverstone in August after he tested positive for the virus.
The sport is operating under strict protocols, with all travelling personnel subjected to tests every five days.
More than 50,000 tests have been carried out, with 10 positives the highest number returned after any seven-day period.
Hamilton heads into Sunday’s race – the first staged at Nurburging for seven years – with a 44-point lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton finished third at the last round in Sochi after he was handed a 10-second penalty by the stewards following a pre-race infringement.
Meanwhile, Mick Schumacher, the son of seven-time world champion Michael, will make his F1 debut in opening practice here on Friday.
The 21-year-old, expected to land a full-time seat next season, will drive for Alfa Romeo in place of regular driver Antonio Giovinazzi.