Some Formula 1 team members, including from Ferrari and Mercedes, have taken up the offer of COVID-19 vaccinations from the Bahrain government ahead of testing and this month’s season-opener despite the sport’s reluctance to jump any queues.
Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper reported on Wednesday that 90% of Ferrari staff in Bahrain had accepted the offer of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on arrival.
There was no official comment from the Italian team. Sources at several teams told Reuters it was a matter of personal choice.
Italy has registered more than 100,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 since February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain, and the country’s vaccination campaign has started slowly.
Bahrain GP organisers last month offered jabs to all participants ahead of this weekend’s testing, with a second dose delivered after the March 28 race.
British-based Formula One at the time ruled out being vaccinated as a travelling group and chief executive Stefano Domenicali told reporters the most vulnerable in society remained the priority.
“We need to be prudent and see and respect what is the situation with the more vulnerable people and we don’t want to be seen as the ones taking away for sure,” added the Italian.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who has had the virus, told German reporters last week that his British-based team would leave it to individuals to decide.
“It is a personal decision who would like to be vaccinated and who would not and not a decision that we make as a team, in one direction or the other,” he said.