Marko’s COVID-19 suggestion made ‘before understanding the severity’

Marko’s COVID-19 suggestion made ‘before understanding the severity’

Formula 1

Marko’s COVID-19 suggestion made ‘before understanding the severity’


Helmut Marko’s suggestion that Red Bull’s drivers take part in a camp that could see them catch coronavirus in order to be fully fit for when racing restarts was made before the severity of the pandemic was understood.

That’s the explanation by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who said Marko’s comments — openly shared by the Red Bull advisor during a recent interview on Austrian television — were never taken seriously and came before the situation had worsened to its current level.

“As Helmut pointed out, when he raised it, it wasn’t received with support from within Red Bull,” Horner told the BBC. “It was in many ways a throwaway comment (made) before understanding the seriousness of the pandemic.

“Things like the ventilator project (Red Bull) is working on demonstrate how seriously we are taking this and how much effort’s going behind it,” Horner continued. “Helmut’s comments were made before understanding the severity. It has never been discussed or tabled as a serious suggestion.”

The ventilator project Horner referenced is called Project Pitlane and involves all seven of the UK-based Formula 1 teams responding to a government call for help addressing a ventilator shortage. While teams can’t openly discuss ongoing work, Horner says he is proud of the sport’s response.

“People like Rob Marshall, our chief designer — he has done a couple of all-nighters on this, coming up with engineering solutions to issues they’ve encountered. The key thing is getting these systems out there as quickly as possible. F1’s ability to problem-solve is second to none, and our ability to make rapid prototype parts is again second to none.

“So not just our team but all the teams have responded in a phenomenal way. But I can only judge what’s going on in our our facility, and the efforts that the engineering team, R&D and manufacturing have put into this have been exemplary.”