Red Bull F1 adviser wanted drivers to purposely contract coronavirus during suspended season


The COVID-19 pandemic halted live sports around the world, leaving professional athletes with significantly more free time than they’re used to. Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko proposed an idea on how his drivers should use it: contracting the coronavirus. Marko told the Austrian television channel ORF he wanted his drivers to gather in a camp, well ahead of the Formula One season, and suffer through COVID-19 now so they would be fully health by the time races return.

The camp would “physically bridge the dead time” for the four F1 drivers and at least eight juniors who Marko described as “strong young men in good health,” according to BBC Sport.

Red Bull management shot the idea down.

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

Marko may have had a head start on his drivers. The 76-year-old told ORF he suffered from coronavirus-related symptoms in February but didn’t have access to a test in his home country of Austria.

“I had what I thought was a severe cold and the symptoms would match corona,” Marko said. “It was also something that I had never had in this intensity.”

COVID-19’s has had a massive affect on the F1 season. Eight races have already been cancelled, forcing F1 CEO Chase Carey to get creative in scheduling. Carey is reportedly considering a 15 to 18 race season that could run until January 2021. Reaching that number of races this season would be challenging for drivers whose preparation is being stalled by social distancing and lockdown procedures.





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