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SA F1 Medical driver Alan van der Merwe to miss races over refusal to be vaccinated

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South African Formula 1 Medical Driver Alan van der Merwe and his medical car colleague Dr Ian Roberts missed the Turkish Grand Prix after they tested positive for COVID-19. Now, it seems that van der Merwe will have to sit out for the rest of the season because he has decided not to be vaccinated against the disease.

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 Van Der Merwe said he has contracted COVID-19 twice since the onset of the pandemic and also revealed that he does not intend get vaccinated.

The medical driver suffered much criticism after he revealed his vaccination status on Twitter. “You drive the medical car, and it’s appalling that you’re so blasé about acting like this and being disinformative [sic],” said one Twitter user.

Van der Merwe responded with a lengthy thread, in which he explained the F1’s rigorous safety protocols. Without giving too much away, he also shed some light on his vaccine hesitancy but said he is “pro-vaccine for those that want and can have them.”

“Vaccines are showing to be safe and effective for the vast majority of people. But what if you’re not in the majority? Do you automatically need to be excluded from society? Should some people’s health be sacrificed for the greater good of a vaccine rollout?

My experience of who has contracted C19 around me, the severity of the disease, and their vaccination status is the only real data I have that I can trust fully. This doesn’t undermine the data that you wish to use at all, but it doesn’t change my reality & personal circumstances

Alan van Der Merwe

Van der Merwe also said he is half-Swiss where a previous COVID-19 infection “counts as much as a vaccine.” He also claimed that this is the case in “other developed countries.” “I trust those countries know what they’re doing, and also respect countries’ more restrictive rules and not travel there.”

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The medical driver said he is aware that he will potentially less employable because of his choices. He was replaced by the Formula E safety car driver Bruno Correia while Dr Roberts was replaced by Bruno Franceschini.

F1 race director Michael Masi confirmed that van der Merwe could miss the final races of the season as here are a couple of countries where you will probably not be allowed to enter unless you are vaccinated.”

“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,” said Masi.

Van Der Merwe will most likely have to miss the upcoming races in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

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