Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has moved to clarify his controversial coronavirus “camp” comments from Monday, stating he was not suggesting his drivers should catch the virus.
According to Marko, his much-publicised line was merely a glib response to a question asked of him by Austrian broadcaster ORF.
“Of course that’s not true. It wasn’t about deliberately infecting someone. That came out wrong in the interview because it was also cut together,” Marko told f1-insider.com.
“In Austria, you’re being overwhelmed by corona in the media. No matter if it’s television, radio or newspapers: It’s all about the virus. Even our use of mockery, for which Austria is otherwise held in high esteem beyond its borders, is nipped in the bud in times like these.
“One thing is certain: I won’t send my children to war willingly.”
Nevertheless, Marko maintained he was serious about holding a training camp for his drivers during Formula 1’s current coronavirus-induced hiatus, reiterating his previous statements that the severity of the virus has been overplayed.
“If people of my age, the highest risk group of all, can survive the disease, it’s fair to say that young, well-trained competitive athletes like our racing drivers should at least be less afraid of the consequences,” he explained. “This is the only reason why we considered organizing the training camp despite the danger of Corona. Above all, it should distract the boys and keep them fit. But there was never any talk of deliberate infectiousness.”
“Of course you have to be careful and try to get the pandemic under control as soon as possible. But please with a sense of proportion. I’m sure the virus got me in February. I had a ten-day cold with all the symptoms that are attributed to the virus.
“When I flew to Melbourne for the scheduled Grand Prix, I felt better. On the return flight I had to stop over in Dubai. There were conditions there that you can’t imagine. Tens of thousands of people from different nations were scurrying around in a very confined space. But against all logic I was not infected. Probably because I was already resistant.”