The FIA has announced that it will relax Formula 1’s COVID-19 protocols for the 2023 season, including a requirement for those in the paddock to be vaccinated.
Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 and the delayed start to that season, the FIA introduced a strict set of protocols to reduce the risk of spreading the virus and keeping the paddock safe.
Steps were taken to relax restrictions through 2021, including a return of the media and outside personnel to the paddock, before further steps in 2022 saw the end of mandatory testing and wearing masks.
In a statement issued following the latest meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Bologna on Wednesday, it was confirmed that further steps will be taken to relax the protocols for next year.
This will include an end of the requirement for those working in so-called ‘high density areas’ - such as the paddock, pit lane and race control - to be vaccinated against COVID or have a medical exemption.
In 2022, those working in the paddock were required to show proof of vaccination - two doses of a vaccine recognised by the World Health Organisation - or their medical exemption when collecting their passes at the start of the season.
But it follows moves by a number of countries through 2022 to relax their COVID protocols, with many no longer requesting proof of vaccination in order to enter the country.
The World Motor Sport Council also confirmed the FIA will no longer organise on-site testing facilities, something that has been present since the first race with the COVID protocols in place in July 2020.
For 2022, the FIA dropped the requirement for those in the paddock to be testing and instead strongly encouraged it, keeping the facilities open at all circuit.
The FIA will “inform stakeholders about test facilities available locally to venues” for those who need to get tested over a race weekend.
Those who have COVID symptoms or have a positive test result will still not be allowed to enter the high density areas, according to the FIA, meaning there is no shift that would allow drivers who had tested positive to still race.