Helmut Marko’s coronavirus camp idea was never “tabled as a serious suggestion”, according to Red Bull Formula 1 team principal Christian Horner.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko - the man who is responsible for picking the drivers for Red Bull and its junior squad AlphaTauri - caused a stir when he proposed an idea in which all Red Bull affiliated drivers attend a fitness camp to contract coronavirus so they could recover and be immune from the disease in time for when the season can start.

But Horner stressed Marko’s plan, which he said was a “throwaway comment before understanding the seriousness of the pandemic”, had been immediately dismissed by Red Bull.

"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 before understanding the seriousness of the pandemic.

"Red Bull, yes, they have many athletes but the focus regarding all the actions that are going on at the moment is that this can affect young people, old people, vulnerable people. It is not a limited sector this applies to.

“So things like the ventilator project we are working on demonstrate how seriously we are taking this and how much effort's going behind it.

"Helmut's comments were made before understanding the severity. It has never been discussed or tabled as a serious suggestion."

FEATURED: How F1 is joining the fight against coronavirus 

Red Bull and six other UK-based F1 teams are responding to a call from the government to help develop and manufacture life-saving medical devices, including ventilators, amid a worldwide shortage in the fight against COVID-19.

Mercedes has already built a new breathing aid device which it hopes to begin mass production on in the coming week, while McLaren has helped create protective equipment for frontline NHS staff.

Horner described F1’s rapid response to the call to arms as “overwhelming”.

"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," he explained.

"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. I can only judge what's going on in our our facility, and the efforts that the engineering team and R&D and manufacturing have put into this have been exemplary.

"Basically, we've been using the engineering skill of the relevant people to problem solve and knock out a few rapid prototypes and get it to the point of sign-off."

 

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