Wednesday, January 27, 2021

COVID-19: Red Bull boss Marko admits he WANTED drivers to contract virus

Red Bull Motorsport boss Helmut Marko says he has told the Red Bull drivers to go out and get themselves infected by COVID-19 during the season hiatus.

Helmut Marko wanted drivers to go to a camp

The 76-year-old had an idea that would bring all Red Bull drivers and juniors together in a camp which, in his words, would be the “ideal time for the infection to come.”

Marko justified the idea by saying that “they are all strong young men in good health. That way they would be prepared whenever the action starts.”

The rest of the management team at Red Bull were reportedly against the idea and, as a result, it was abandoned.

“Let’s put it this way: it has not been well received,” said Marko.

“We have four Formula 1 drivers and eight or 10 juniors, and the idea was that we would organise a camp to mentally and physically bridge the dead time.”

Obviously the Formula One calendar has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and, as it stands, has no set date for a return to action. The working date for the season to resume as it stands is the Canada Grand Prix on the weekend of June 14.

So far, we’ve already seen the opening Grands Prix be postponed with at least a few of them set to be cancelled entirely. For a Championship to be fought for, we need to have at least eight races completed – which at the moment isn’t a foregone conclusion.

We still have 14 races on the calendar which the F1 chiefs have yet to make a decision on. At the moment, we need to be patient and wait to see how the crisis plays out – chances are that we could be stuck quarantine for months yet.

Does Marko have a point?

At the end of the day, COVID-19 is a virus and, as is the case with nearly all viruses, once you’ve had it once, your body develops antibodies so it can fight off the infection in the future.

As Marko said, all of the Red Bull drivers are young, fit men with no underlying health conditions and, as a result, would in all likelihood only get minor symptoms if they were to contract COVID-19.

His thinking was that he wanted them to get it now, before the season gets underway – whenever that may be. That would give them time to get over the disease and get back to full fitness for the season starting – which isn’t the worst idea in all fairness.

The problem with it is that the drivers could, perhaps rightly, feel like Marko is playing roulette with their lives. There has been cases of young and fit people getting the disease in an incredibly severe way – there’s nothing to say one of the Red Bull drivers wouldn’t be one of those people.

The sensible move is to just leave sport to one side while the COVID-19 crisis is ongoing. Obviously sport is still a big part of all of our lives – particularly Marko and his drivers, but now isn’t the time to be worried about how you’ll get on performance-wise this season. It’s the time to be sensible, stay home and beat this virus.

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