Formula 1 is to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for all personnel this year.
The move will mean no-one will be able to work within the paddock – F1’s inner sanctum where the teams operate – without being fully vaccinated.
The policy will apply to all personnel working within F1, including drivers, teams, media, hospitality workers and any guests who attend the races.
It is not expected to have an impact on any of the drivers’ ability to compete as all are understood to be vaccinated.
Double vaccination was a requirement of entry to the USA for last year’s US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
The plan for all personnel to be vaccinated was agreed at last month’s meeting of the world council of governing body the FIA but there has been a delay in communicating it.
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The sport will also follow the vaccine and wider Covid policies of each national government of the countries it visits.
There remain uncertainties, particularly over whether genuine medical exemptions will be permitted.
The decision to mandate vaccines, first revealed in the Times newspaper and confirmed by the FIA to BBC Sport, could lead to a relaxation of Covid restrictions within F1, such as reduced testing and a relaxation of the ‘bubble’ system designed over the last two years to minimise the impact of Covid.
The policy is being mandated by the FIA, which was not immediately available for comment.
A spokesman for F1 – which runs the commercial side of the sport, including deciding the calendar – said: “F1 (FOM) will require all travelling personnel to be fully vaxxed and will not request exemptions.”
The move comes as F1 prepares to embark on what it hopes will be a record 23-race calendar this season.
F1 was the first major international sport to start up again in the summer of 2020 after the pandemic hit, and it has successfully negotiated two seasons and a total of 39 races as a result of a stringent series of restrictions aimed at minimising the possibility of spreading the coronavirus.
However, the sport is likely to reduce the amount of testing required this year and also open up the ‘bubble’ system which limited people’s contacts to ensure minimum disruption should anyone test positive.
Since the start of the pandemic, four drivers have had to miss races as a result of catching Covid – Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll when they were competing for Racing Point in 2020, Lewis Hamilton at the penultimate race of the 2020 season and Kimi Raikkonen at last year’s Dutch and Italian Grands Prix.