Thursday 17 September at 09:35 : Sep.17 (GMM) Flavio Briatore says the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc on Formula 1 and the world in 2020 “can be defeated”.

The former Renault boss was speaking after recovering from his own recent infection with the famous virus.

“I don’t want to play down the illness but last year I was very ill. I had pneumonia,” he said on social media.

“I was taken in at the San Raffaele (hospital) that time too and I was really bad. But it was absolutely not comparable to the last 24 days.

“I was three or four days in hospital and then I was treated at the house of (politician) Daniela Santanche. I consider it my duty to talk about my experience because I have realised that covid can be defeated and collective psychological hysteria must not be fed,” Briatore added.

Just prior to his infection, Briatore’s club Billionaire was at the centre of the corona story in Italy, as some 60 of his staff were infected.

Briatore says the media attention was a “campaign” by the Italian government to “divert people’s attention”.

“From the covid, you can heal,” said the 70-year-old. “It certainly makes us vulnerable but I tell you that it can be cured.

“I was sick for two days, for the rest it was much less than pneumonia. The coronavirus is a very strong problem, but in Italy there is a greater problem – we a country of envy, jealousy, resentfulness and evil.

“Even when the news is positive they turn it into a negative,” Briatore alleges.

“Our battle is to go back to work, continue normal life and ensure that this virus does not make us starve. We must follow the rules that the doctors establish, including a mask, wash our hands, keep a distance, but we must restart the country.

“We must face the virus seriously and firmly but we must resume producing and talking about other problems,” he added.