F1 will not try to jump the queue on vaccines, says new boss

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LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One will not try to jump the queue for vaccines to protect its longest-ever season from the COVID-19 pandemic, new boss Stefano Domenicali said.

Some countries have drawn criticism by vaccinating their athletes, or planning to do so, ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Soccer bosses are among those who have said health workers and society's most vulnerable must take precedence, a stance Domenicali agreed with.

"This is a very important point," the Italian told a virtual media round table on Thursday. "The most vulnerable, that is priority one. We don't want to jump on the line of vaccination."

"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."

Formula One is preparing for a record 23 race campaign -- some of them in countries hard hit by the new coronavirus, such as Mexico and Brazil, as well as those in the sport's European heartland.

Six of Formula One's 20 drivers have tested positive so far, three of them, including Mercedes' seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton, missing races in 2020 as a result.

Last season started months late, in July rather than March, because of the health crisis and teams operated in carefully controlled bubbles with frequent tests.

The new season is due to start in Bahrain on March 28.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Schmollinger)