Formula 1: Charles Leclerc warned for breaking coronavirus rules

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
leclerc
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Charles Leclerc has been given an official warning after breaking Formula 1's coronavirus protocols.

The Ferrari driver returned to Monaco this week between the Austrian and Styrian Grands Prix at the Red Bull Ring and was pictured with friends.

Personnel are required to remain within their 'bubbles' between races.

An FIA spokesperson said that Ferrari had been given a reminder and warned that "any further breaches could be referred to the stewards".

Officials can prevent personnel attending races if they ignore the rules.

Leclerc was found to be in breach of article 3.14 of F1's Covid-19 code, which says: "Any time outside the venue during a covered event or between covered events must be spent with other members of the same group, keeping interaction with persons outside that group to a minimum."

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas also returned to Monaco this week, but he was found not to have breached guidelines as he stayed within his bubble, which includes his trainer Antti Vierula and his girlfriend, the cyclist Tiffany Cromwell.

Leclerc said: "I did [go] back home. On the other hand, I've been tested twice before coming back. So in two days, testing twice, both negative obviously. That's it."

Bottas added: "Obviously I found out if it's allowed, to go back, and yes, it is," said Bottas. "And of course it doesn't really make a difference if I stay with the same people in the same bubble whether I'm here or back home in Monaco.

"So I decided to go back home as, in the end, we are in Europe and travelling is pretty short distance so there's no stress really from the travel.

"I just wanted to spend those three full days at home. I thought it was very nice to recharge for the weekend, so I think it was a good decision from my side. I just tend to do things that what works for me, how I feel, what I want to do between the races.

"From a safety point of view there is no difference at all. Still the same people that I will be dealing with here."