Formula 1: The Helmut Marko COVID-19 saga just got really weird

The bizarre desire of Red Bull Racing Formula 1 boss Helmut Marko for Max Verstappen to catch COVID-19 just got even weirder.

Last week, Red Bull Racing team manager Helmut Marko stated that the best thing for Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen would be for him to “get infected now” with the novel coronavirus.

Marko’s logic was that with Verstappen being only 22 years old and in a low-risk group when it comes to experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, he would be better to catch it now and recover so that he would be immune to it later as he attempts to dethrone Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and win the 2020 world championship.

Here is what Marko had to say in an interview with Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung.

“He told me on the phone he was terrified of getting the virus. The best thing would be if he got infected now, he’s 22, it’s not at a high risk and he would be in a better place for the run to the title later being already immune.”

It is worth noting that while Marko, the 76-year-old Austrian who is convinced that he caught COVID-19 in mid-February and is now resistant to it, is a doctor, he is not a medical doctor.

He obtained a doctorate of law from the University of Graz in Graz, Austria.

But Marko’s desire about COVID-19 doesn’t stop with Verstappen. He literally considered putting together a camp for his drivers to come and get infected with the virus before the 2020 season begins.

Here is what he told Austrian TV station ORF.

“The idea was to organize 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.”

So was there ever a chance of it happening?

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


Alongside Verstappen at Red Bull Racing is Alexander Albon. Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat are both set to compete for AlphaTauri, the Red Bull sister team. Albon and Gasly are both 24 years old while Kvyat is 25 and slated to be 26 when the season begins.

The 2020 Formula 1 season had been scheduled to get underway on Sunday, March 15 with the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, but the coronavirus pandemic knocked that race off of what was a record-breaking 22-race schedule.

Formula 1 postponements and cancellations: TRACKER

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Now the first eight races of the 2020 Formula 1 season have been either postponed or cancelled, and the season is not scheduled to get underway until Sunday, June 14 with the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. These plans remain subject to change. Formula 1 still plans to run between 15 and 18 races this season.

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