Red Bull motorsports head Helmut Marko has advised his drivers to get infected with coronavirus while the Formula One season is in pause. He said that it was his idea to bring his F1 drivers and juniors together in a camp, at a time which would be ideal time for COVID-19 to affect.
Marko who is 76, is a part of Red Bull management set-up, and the team won four F1 titles between 2010 and 2013. Red Bull is the organiser of the Austrian Grand Prix, slated to be held on July 5, but now uncertain amid coronavirus.
"They are all strong young men in good health. That way they would be prepared whenever the action starts," he said, reported BBC. However, the rest of the Red Bull management did not go with his idea and it was abandoned. "Let's put it this way: it has not been well received," Marko stated.
To bridge the team
In an interview with an Austrian TV channel ORF, he said, "We have four Formula one drivers and eight or 10 juniors, and the idea was that we would organize a camp to mentally and physically bridge the dead time."
As coronavirus became a pandemic, the first eight races of F1 were called off and there is uncertainty over the events in Canada, France, Austria and Britain in June and July.
F1's boss Chase Carey has said that the season could run into January next year to fit in as many events as possible. Marko said that there would be no possibility to improve fitness during the season. So this was the ideal time to use.
He mentioned that Red Bull contributed to the effort of producing ventilators in order to increase the capacity of NHS. The production has started, said Marko. He also said that he suspected he contracted the virus in February looking at the symptoms but he couldn't be sure as there were limited testing done in Austria.
Loss of revenue, not an issue
The loss of revenue due to fewer races wasn't a big problem as they would save more money by running lesser cars. "[F1 owner] Liberty expects a loss of $200-300m (£161-242m) in revenue, and this is also transferred to the teams in a quota. That is why we decided to take these austerity measures to make up for this loss of revenue," he said