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Marko: Red Bull considered deliberately infecting its drivers with coronavirus

  • Published on 30 Mar 2020 10:49
  • comments 17
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko says the team considered infecting its four Formula 1 drivers with COVID-19 at a 'Corona Camp' in order to make them immune to the virus.

The coronavirus pandemic has put much of the normal daily operations on hold around the world, with the opening eight races either postponed or cancelled because of the situation.

Over 700,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide with upwards of 34,000 deaths relating to the disease. Just under one-third of the total worldwide deaths have come from Italy.

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Although scientists are still working to uncover if recovering from the virus makes an individual immune to it, Marko told Austrian television station ORF that infecting the two Red Bull and AlphaTauri drivers, as well as its junior team members, was considered in order for them to build an immunity.

“We have four Formula 1 drivers and eight or ten juniors,” he said. “The idea was to organise a camp where we could bridge this mentally and physically somewhat dead time. And that would be the ideal time for the infection to come.

"These are all strong young men in really good health. That way they would be prepared whenever the action starts. And you can be ready for what will probably be a very tough championship once it starts."

However, the idea was quickly shot down by other members of the team: "Let's put it this way... it has not been well received.”

Marko previously spoke about how Max Verstappen had called him over fears of contracting the virus, with the Netherlands currently sitting as the tenth most infected nation worldwide.

With drivers not set to drive until June at the earliest, a condensed F1 season is being considered. However, Marko affirmed that many races in quick succession will be a big physical challenge for the drivers.

"If there is a racing season with 15 to 18 races, it will be very, very tough,” he said. “There is no possibility to improve your fitness during the season. So it's actually ideal to use this time now."

Replies (17)

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  • JuJuHound

    Posts: 272

    This sound scary but many people make party for their babies with other infected ones to get sick and make all babies diseases as planned not to get surprised.... I don't understand this but many people do.

    • + 0
    • Mar 30 2020 - 11:42
    • Yes, honestly it is in theory not a bad idea. However, they'd then need to quarantine the drivers during the infection + 2 weeks after to reduce risks of them infecting others. Furthermore, drivers are generally very healthy, but depending on how deeply checked they are, chances are unknown issues (say an up until now heart issue) might make such a feat potentially dangerous.

      • + 0
      • Mar 30 2020 - 13:53
    • *up until now unknown...

      • + 0
      • Mar 30 2020 - 13:54
  • denis1304

    Posts: 272

    WTF???

    • + 0
    • Mar 30 2020 - 12:21
    • Kokoro

      Posts: 13

      It makes perfect sense to me, where do I sign up for the Corona Camp!

      Or, instead of a camp, what about a Corona holiday package, or a Corona cruise, and self isolate somewhere nice for two weeks until you get over it! I'm not being glib, another month of this, and then what? By all accounts we're not going to have a vaccine within a year, and the virus is still going to be out there and the world economy and society will be f****d.

      If we’re going to be forced to self isolate en mass for 14 days, then give me the bloody virus, so that I can get over it and get on with it! Hell, for what this virus is costing me, I'd pay a camp $25,000 in advance and sign off on acceptance of any additional cost for the very unlikely event that I'd need back up health care, if that's what it took!

      What's going to happen at the end of this two week period? They're not going to eradicate it! It's still going to be out there. Their whole response is a formula for prolonging this thing, its just going to drag on and on.

      In fact, to me, the numbers and underlying facts from WHO don't add up to the response. If 80% of people can get it, get over it, and many not even know they've had it because of the mild flue like symptoms, why not identify that cohort and let people make their own choice if they: 1. are under say 55; 2. have no underlying respiratory, cardiac, immune, or diabetic disorders; and 3. importantly, are in a position to self isolate themselves for two weeks. If we are going to have to self isolate en mass anyway, then why not give the young and otherwise healthy the opportunity to sign off on the risks and attend a Corona Camp!

      Or better yet, give people the opportunity to opt out of the community for 12 months!! Support people who are over 55 with certain conditions in making a decision to isolate themselves, and let the rest of us get it, self isolate, get over it and get on with it! Tom and Rita appear to be doing ok.

      ...... and why is the media calculating the death rate based upon confirmed cases? Surely if they’re able to record the number of confirmed cases, they would also have a record of how many tests have been undertaken, which would enable them to project the % of people who have likely had it! Surely that would be a more appropriate denominator in the death rate calculation!

      • + 0
      • Mar 30 2020 - 20:42
  • Mansell

    Posts: 100

    Right now, He really has to be saying something to get in the press.....

    WTF is wrong with this guy.

    • + 1
    • Mar 30 2020 - 14:53
    • He clearly justifies his Nazi-like beliefs

      • + 0
      • Mar 30 2020 - 15:30
  • Idiot. The plan only works if the drivers and all support 'cast' involved in the camp are quarantined so not to infect others. His advice directly contradicts most government official advice. It also assumes all drivers have perfect health - have they been tested for all possible underlying health issues - I very much doubt it.

    • + 1
    • Mar 30 2020 - 15:31
    • Well, not necessarily all underlying, but at the very least all cardiopulmonary and immune-related. But in essence I agree with you. Sounds good, doesn't work. And even if F1 drivers are incredibly well tested (which they are), some inheritable heart diseases are very hard to detect in young, fit people, up until they kinda just suddenly debut.

      • + 0
      • Mar 30 2020 - 19:44
    • @abhid it is and isn't. There have been rare cases of reinfection, some being onchology patients (notably frail and, depending on type, prone to immune insufficience) have been gettimg ill again with it. Whether it's reinfection or just the infection never leaving we don't know.

      • + 0
      • Mar 31 2020 - 12:23
  • Human body didnt develop resistance to Covid 19 virus. Reinfections have been discovered. Perhaps lawyers told Marko, this is a horrible idea in 2020. Employees, F1, FIA, respective governments would have sued the life out of RB.

    • + 1
    • Mar 30 2020 - 16:42
    • Here's the thing: if we didn't develop immunity to the COV, a vaccine would be a waste of time. You telling me tonnes of science teams have worked for naught?
      No, most people will likely develop an immunity towards it. The question is: at what pace does it develop new strains which doesn't get fought off with immunity towards other strains, and why do some people get reinfected while others do not? We really don't know much about the latter factor.

      • + 0
      • Mar 30 2020 - 19:41
    • Im saying, getting infected and then getting cured doesn’t guarantee safety. COVID-19 is not pox.

      • + 0
      • Mar 30 2020 - 20:20
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 239

      If people are getting reinfected then vaccine would do nothing. If those antibodies do not sustain after infection then it stands to reason that antibodies developed because of vaccine would also not sustain. Let's hope that's not true.

      • + 0
      • Mar 31 2020 - 08:04
    • abhidbgt

      Posts: 239

      Deliberately introducing one to infection can also leave one's lungs capacity seriously hampered. One wouldn't want to live with compromised body for the rest of one's life.

      • + 0
      • Mar 31 2020 - 08:20
    • Thank god I do not work for a shitty employer like Marko/RB. Employees are also humans, not pawns to be used to further one’s ambitions.

      • + 2
      • Mar 31 2020 - 15:24
  • f1ski

    Posts: 611

    Not what i would admit to.

    • + 0
    • Mar 30 2020 - 19:05

AT Grand Prix of Austria

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AT Grand Prix of Austria

Local time 

  • Fridayweather-image

  • Free practice 1

    11:00 - 12:30

    Free practice 2

    15:00 - 16:30

  • Saturdayweather-image

  • Free practice 3

    12:00 - 13:00

    Qualifying

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  • Sunday weather-image

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