Many countries have a coronavirus vaccination policy that is implemented in stages across age groups, but of course there are always exceptions. For example, Bahrain provided all Formula 1 workers with a vaccine during a winter test. A noble gesture makes sense in and of itself considering that people from all over the world have traveled to a central point. However, this also posed a dilemma.
The teams based in England have given their staff the freedom to choose vaccination on the track or according to the protocols in the UK. So it didn’t make much difference to the individual and we know, for example, that Max Verstappen was actually vaccinated, while his role was not yet according to the Dutch stepwise approach.
For Formula 1, this resulted in a somewhat more difficult situation. In light of constant travel, early vaccination is preferable, but it can be negative in terms of PR. The moment everyone is vaccinated in Formula 1, the effect could be that Formula 1 would have a “special status”. This could lead to negative news headlines and, of course, a backlash on social media.
Not officially accepted
With the idea of public relations in mind, Formula 1 has not formally accepted the bid from the Bahraini government. So says the sports representative Autosport.com That F1 “I had no plans to get vaccinated as a group for the vaccination program the UK government had already put in place.” In other words, they didn’t want to go ahead to avoid bad PR.
This is in line with the previous words of Stefano Domenicali, who said the following about this in February: “What I can say is that the most vulnerable is currently the priority. On our part, we don’t want to stand in line to get vaccinated.” For this reason, Formula 1 unofficially rejected the offer, although it appreciates the offer.
Dominicali: “We don’t want to be seen as the one who took that away (for the weak, liberated). Much respect for everything governments say and what people do, but in this case we have to be careful. All I can say is that I really hope to get vaccinated soon.” .