Miami GP thrown into chaos as both race officials have doubts after positive Covid tests
FIA race directors Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas are both at risk of missing the first Miami Grand Prix on May 8 after returning positive tests for Covid
Image: Getty Images)
The first-ever Miami Grand Prix was thrown into chaos after F1’s two new race officials tested positive covid.
Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas shared the role in 2022, after replacing the sacked Michael Masi earlier in the season. So far they have officiated eventful races in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Imola.
However, both race directors have doubts as to whether they will be in America before the next 2022 Grand Prix weekend on May 6-8. last october, Organizers confirmed an expanded schedule of 23 raceswith the Miami event appearing on the calendar for the first time.
Last month, The race was in danger of being canceled after Florida residents filed a lawsuit. Miami Gardens residents argued the noise generated by the race would “cause serious disruption and physical harm to Miami Gardens residents.”
And now the organizers have been dealt another blow. If neither Wittich nor Freitas test negative in time for the flight to the US, an emergency plan must be drawn up.
According to the Daily Mail an F1 source has spoken of a potential crisis, saying: “The FIA don’t know what to do. The lives of the drivers are at stake and they appear to have no structure for the possibility that neither of them will officially be negative in flight time.”
In fact, the last thing the FIA needs is ambiguity about their race directors following the dubious departure of Masi. The Australian was at the center of the controversy that plagued last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in which Max Verstappen was beaten Lewis Hamilton to the world championship title.
It was the Mercedes man who controlled the race, however, until a late crash saw Williams driver Nicholas Latifi deploy a safety car, hugely benefiting Red Bull and its star Verstappen.
Masi’s actions gave Verstappen a chance to pass Hamilton on the last lap and drew harsh criticism from Mercedes. The Silver Arrows launched two protests against what happenedbut both were released.
Toto Wolff’s team later dropped their intention to appeal, but only after the FIA agreed to a full investigation into what was happening at the Yas Marina. The results were announced on the eve of the new campaign, with Masi’s sacking confirmed.
The organizers chose to replace him with two figures to prevent the race director from being isolated and verbally challenged by team bosses. Both Horner and Wolff feuding with Masi became a fixture of the 2021 campaign.
Ahead of the Miami Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc leads at the top of the standings but it’s Verstappen who has the momentum following his win at Imola.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/formula-1/fia-miami-positive-covid-tests-26822115 Miami GP thrown into chaos as both race officials have doubts after positive Covid tests