Formula Medicine is back on track
Time to restart. Formula Medicine is ready to get back on track in Formula 1, inaugurating the 32nd season in the top category for the company headed by Dr. Riccardo Ceccarelli (pictured). Last year in Hungary the company celebrated the milestone 500th Grand Prix at which it has been present.
What was so abruptly interrupted in Melbourne last March will be resumed at the Austrian Spielberg circuit this weekend. In the meantime, activity has proceeded incessantly outside the circuits – in fact, the preparatory work for the start of the World Championship has never been so hectic as it is now. The number one rule in times of Covid-19 is safety. And the measures that have been implemented are very rigid.
“The problems were, and remain, many” explains Dr. Ceccarelli. “After Australia there was a great desire to start again, but, like a footballer who has missed a penalty, there was a fear that it might happen again. Precisely for this reason, the Federation has defined very complex protocols. There are many new rules for the first time. What lies ahead is an unprecedented scenario to which each of us will have to adapt quickly and in the best way; there are new dynamics to be understood”.
So, what will be the most important new aspects? First of all, the swab test, which the whole “circus” will have to repeat every five days. But the ways in which medical assistance services will be offered in the circuit are also subject to change.
“One of the biggest problems is represented by the fact that each individual can only work within the group to which he/she has been assigned” explains Ceccarelli. “Until last year we offered a service to the whole paddock with a team of four medical doctors. Now things have changed, and we must provide a doctor for each of the teams and groups we work with. Six in total for the teams – Alpha Tauri (to which a physiotherapist has also been assigned), McLaren, Racing Point, Red Bull Racing, Renault and Williams. Two more doctors are assigned respectively to the Pirelli and F1 staff. We have had to order huge quantities of medical and pharmaceutical supplies because each group has to have its own stock. We will also provide support to the Alfa Romeo Racing and Haas F1 Team remotely.”
“Our medical team will be formed of six Italian and two British professionals” continues Ceccarelli. “Among them is Dr. Elisa Fustini, who joined us this year and was already at the circuit in Australia before returning to Italy to work in the intensive care unit of a Covid-19 hospital. Some of the most expert professionals are doctors Matteo Bartalucci, Marco Cupisti and Paolo Vaglio, and Carlo Atzeri who usually works in England. We represent the core of a real task force which will also have two external collaborators – local Austrian doctors who have also worked in hospitals during the Coronavirus emergency. We will also have Formulab (the travelling medical laboratory introduced in 2019, which offers ECG, ultrasound and blood tests), but at the moment we do not know if we can use it.”
The Formula Medicine staff will stay abroad for three consecutive weeks for the Austrian and Styrian Grand Prix and the Hungary Grand Prix on July 19. Formula Medicine has also been actively working with the DTM to define the rules for the restart of that championship which is scheduled for early August at Spa. The rules may be less complex than those implemented in Formula 1 but will carefully and scrupulously comply with all the requirements of the World Health Organization.