Formula One Official Suggests Exposing Drivers to Coronavirus

He says the idea 'was not accepted positively'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2020 1:46 AM CDT
Formula One Official Says Drivers Should Get Infected
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, of the Netherlands, right, celebrates with Helmut Marko, of his team during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019.   (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)

With motorsport halted by the coronavirus pandemic, a top racing official in Europe has suggested that drivers pass the time by becoming infected with the coronavirus. Helmut Marko, an adviser to the Formula One team Red Bull, told Austrian public broadcaster ORF that drivers could get together to build immunity to the virus, NBC reports. "We have four Formula One drivers, we have eight or 10 juniors, and the idea was to hold a camp where we could bridge this rather dead time mentally and physically," he said. "And then it would be ideal, because these are all young, strong men in really good health if the infection comes then. Then they would be equipped, if it starts up again, for a really hard world championship."

Marko admitted that the idea "was not accepted positively" by team leaders and had been abandoned, the AP reports. The 76-year-old said he was more at risk from COVID-19 than the drivers. "I belong to the high risk group but I'm not frightened. I respect it," he said, adding that a "heavy cold" he experienced in February could have been caused by the virus. With the first eight races of the season postponed, the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal on June 12-14 is currently the first race on the Formula One calendar. (More coronavirus stories.)

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