Red Bull motorsports boss Helmut Marko is under fire after revealing he encouraged junior and senior drivers to put themselves in a position where they would become infected with Covid-19. The 76-year-old former driver said his plan had “not been received well,” and was ultimately overruled by the rest of Red Bull management.
Marko’s plan would have put the majority of Red Bull’s drivers together in close proximity, and while stopping short of saying he wanted to introduce the virus to drivers, he did hope they would become sick. He said should the drivers fall ill it “would be the ideal time for the infection to come,” speaking of the current halt to the F1 season.
Marko envisioned a scenario where the rest of Formula One would continue to struggle with threats of the virus when competition resumed, while his team would have already contracted and recovered from Covid-19. This wasn’t a secret, closed-door meeting either — he made his intentions known to the world. “They are all strong young men in good health,” Marko said, adding, “that way they would be prepared whenever the action starts.” His home-brewed psuedo-science didn’t stop there. He argued drivers are currently in peak physical condition, something that will deteriorate over time due to lack of access to traditional gyms and training facilities, making it the perfect time for athletes to become infected.
Despite Marko’s belief that it’s best for drivers to get coronavirus now, there’s no scientific argument supporting that anyone intentionally expose themselves to the virus at any time. Despite early reports that Covid-19 predominantly affected the elderly, there are now hundreds of cases of people in their 20s and 30s after contracting the virus, including those listed as being in “good health.” In addition, there are anecdotal reports that some people who previously tested positive and recovered have re-contracted the virus, further highlighting how little is known about the nature of Covid-19 itself.
At a time where sports around the globe have pressed pause to help slow the spread of coronavirus, Marko’s comments stand in stark opposition. It’s unimaginable and scary that anyone in a position of power, especially someone with no scientific background or authority, would play with public safety based on his own beliefs. Thankfully, Red Bull management stepped in before this stupid plan could take shape.