FORMULA ONE chiefs could be looking for a new driver to line up on the grid in 2022 in the wake of their new covid rules.
The F1 paddock will become a restricted zone that will require proof of a covid vaccination and that applies to all – drivers, team personnel, VIPs and media.
However, Alan Van der Merwe – who drives the FIA‘s medical car – has previously stated on social media that he is unvaccinated for his “own health”.
The 42-year-old was one of the heroes, along with Doctor Ian Roberts, who helped save Romain Grosjean from his fiery crash in Bahrain in 2020.
Van der Merwe wrote on Twitter last year to explain his reasons for not taking the vaccine ahead of GPs in Qatar and Abu Dhabi.
He wrote: “In Switzerland (I’m half Swiss) and other developed countries, prior infection counts as much as a vaccine.
“I trust that those countries know what they’re doing, and also respect countries’ more restrictive rules and not travel there.
“I am fully aware that I will potentially be less employable or that my freedom of movement will be restricted based on my choices.
“That I will not choose convenience over my own health does not mean I am making decisions out of selfishness. We all just want to be healthy.”
It is believed that no F1 drivers will be impacted by the new rules as all are understood to be vaccinated.
The plan for all personnel to be vaccinated was rubber-stamped at last month’s world council meeting.
The FIA have yet to answer ‘s request for clarification over Van der Merwe’s position but paddock sources are adamant that vaccinations will be required.
It comes as F1 plan to relax their covid protocols and will see the testing frequency reduced.
Since the start of the pandemic, four drivers have had to miss races as a result of catching covid.
Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Kimi Raikkonen were forced out of GPs.
Another four – Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly and Nikita Mazepin – all picked up covid on non-race weekends.