Date published: March 26 2020

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko is convinced that he caught the coronavirus in “mid-February” and became “resistant” to it.

The pandemic has sparked a global emergency, with many countries currently on lockdown in an attempt to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

Formula 1 attempted to get their season underway with the Australian Grand Prix, but the event was cancelled just hours before the first practice session, triggered by McLaren’s withdrawal after an employee tested positive for the virus.

Marko though believes he already had this virus before Melbourne, describing an illness he had which matched some of the coronavirus symptoms.

And he believes the fact that he “survived” the stopover in Dubai on the way back from Melbourne supports his thinking.

“In mid-February I had a bad cold with a severe cough,” Marko told AutoBild.

“The condition lasted ten days, for me unusually long. Today I am almost sure that the cause was the virus. Because I survived the stopover at Dubai airport scot-free during the flight back from Australia.

“There, tens of thousands of people from all nations were crowding into a very confined space.

“People were coughed on, bumped into, accidentally touched. For me, this was the ultimate corona hotspot where one should have been infected.

“Unless you were already resistant to it. If you were, it would show that older people can survive this disease. So it would be important to be less panicky and more rational in dealing with the pandemic.”

Now that the first eight rounds of the 2020 season have been called off, Marko, like many of us, has plenty of time on his hands.

But, he has a creative way of passing said time.

“I do my office work from seven to twelve, then I go into the forest,” he said.

“It is often steep uphill, sometimes on muddy or stony ground, which demands a lot from the body.

“The chainsaw also weighs a lot. With the result that I am fitter than ever at the moment. Besides, I get my mind clear in the forest. You need that even with the madness that surrounds you at the moment.”

Follow us on Twitter @Planet_F1 and like our Facebook page.