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SA’s Formula One medical driver could lose job over anti-vaccination stance

Formula One’s common medical automobile driver, South Africa’s Alan van der Merwe, will not be permitted entry into a few of the nations set to host the remaining six Grands Prix of the year.

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In final Sunday’s race in Turkey, the official medical automobile occupants, driver Van der Merwe and Dr Ian Roberts, sat out the race after testing optimistic for Covid-19.

Van der Merwe and Roberts had been changed in Turkey by Formula E’s common medical automobile crew of Bruno Correia and Medical Delegate Dr Bruno Franceschini.

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Subsequently, Van der Merwe went public to verify that he’s not vaccinated and subsequently could need to skip extra races in 2021 in nations had been it’s now a requirement for entry.

“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 the 41-year-old Johannesburg-born former racing driver mentioned.

“A distinction of opinion is totally positive and the purpose of a dialogue. Hate, racism, personal assaults, being informed I’ll hopefully die, attempting to get me fired and many others., will simply get you blocked.

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

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Although South African, the previous Honda check driver, additionally claims to be “half-Swiss”, and he identified 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,” mentioned Van der Merwe.

“Vaccines are displaying to be secure and efficient for the overwhelming majority of individuals. But what should you’re not within the majority?

“Do you mechanically must be excluded from society?

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

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Van der Merwe added that he’s “fully aware” that his determination could make him “less employable” or restrict 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 concluded.

“From what we understand, there are a couple of countries where you will probably not be allowed to enter unless you are vaccinated,” F1 race director Michael Masi confirmed.

“From that perspective, the FIA obviously has to respect the requirements of each country that we visit, which includes all of the teams and everybody else.”

It is believed van der Merwe will subsequently have to sit down out the scheduled races in Qatar (21 November), Saudi Arabia (5 December) and Abu Dhabi (12 December).

The different three races within the 2021 calendar nonetheless be be raced are within the USA (24 October), Mexico (7 November) and Brazil (14 November).

“Both Alan and Ian were available all weekend on the other end of the phone to help Dr Franceschini and Bruno Correia with their acclimatisation to this role,” mentioned Masi.

Van der Merwe has been the official driver of the FIA medical automobile in Formula One since 2009.

He was within the information in late 2020 when he was broadly credited with saving the lifetime of Frenchman Romain Grosjean after his Haas automobile burst into flames on the opening lap of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

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