F1 medical driver could lose job over vaccine stance

Tue, 12 October 2021, 09:00

Oct.12 (GMM) The career of F1’s regular and long-time medical car driver is on the line over his stance about covid vaccines.

Alan van der Merwe, who has driven the medical car at grands prix full-time since 2009, missed the most recent race in Turkey due to his second covid infection.

But now he stands to miss even more races in 2021 because of his decision to forgo a covid-19 vaccine – which is now a requirement for entry to many countries.

“For the avoidance of doubt, if you want to get vaccinated, do it. I’m pro-vaccine for those that want and can have them,” the South African former racing driver said.

“A difference of opinion is absolutely fine, and the point of a discussion. Hate, racism, personal attacks, being told I will hopefully die, trying to get me fired etc etc will just get you blocked,” the 41-year-old said on social media.

“I’ll continue to adhere to public health guidelines, reduce risk as much as possible, and I’ll respect other’s decisions equally. There doesn’t need to be polarisation or hate involved with every discussion about masks or vaccines.”

Although South African, the former Honda test driver claims to also be “half Swiss”, and he pointed out that in Switzerland “prior infection” is counted as having taken a vaccine.

“I trust that those countries know what they’re doing, and also respect countries’ more restrictive rules and (will) not travel there,” said van der Merwe.

“Vaccines are showing to be safe and effective for the vast majority of people. But what if you’re not in the majority?” he asked. “Do you automatically need to be excluded from society?

“Should some people’s health be sacrificed for the greater good of a vaccine rollout?”

Van der Merwe said he is “fully aware” that his decision could make him “less employable” or limit his “freedom of movement”.

“That I will not choose convenience over my own health does not mean I am making decisions out of selfishness. We all just want to be healthy,” he added.

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