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Billy Monger described the coronavirus crisis as “my generation’s battle” and urged people to stay at home to protect themselves and NHS staff.
The 20-year-old had both legs amputated after a Formula 4 crash in 2017.
“It frustrates me to see people disregarding rules, I think in a way they’re being selfish,” Monger said.
“I get they want their lives back to normal but look at the bigger picture. I know first hand the work NHS workers do and it’s the reason I am here now.”
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The Briton was critically injured in a high-speed accident at Donington Park and returned to racing – in a specially adapted car – just over a year later after successfully appealing to motorsport’s international governing body, the FIA, to change its regulations restricting disabled drivers.
He currently competes for Carlin in the Euroformula series and won the Pau Grand Prix last year.
“Obviously it’s very hard to compare this to what people in World War One and World War Two went through but in a way, when it comes to my generation, this is our battle,” he said.
Asked about recent reports of people breaking social distancing and self-isolation rules, Monger said people needed to focus on the “bigger picture”.
“They’re almost throwing in the towel for the rest of us. And, in that sense, that doesn’t seem fair. I think we should all be united. The quicker we follow the rules, the quicker this will all be over,” he added.
On 16 April, the third anniversary of his crash, Monger posted an emotional eight-minute video on Instagram where for the first time he showed the full extent of his injuries.
“I showed people so they could see the type of work the NHS do every day. And while this is going on they still have to treat people who’ve had accidents like me,” he said.
“So any extra work people are creating in the middle of this crisis is jeopardising their ability to save lives.
“We are seeing NHS staff sacrificing themselves day in and day out.”
Monger said he chose to share his scars and story in response to other celebrities who were raising money or taking part in challenges in support of the NHS.
He said he had found it mentally challenging being at home for such a long time and that it reminded him of the weeks following surgery.
While at home, he’s been trying to keep his reflexes sharp with a racing simulator.
“The simulator, of course, doesn’t compare to the real thing, as good as technology is these days,” he said.
“You’re not going to have that same adrenaline, the same risk. In a video you crash and just press reset – real life doesn’t work like that.”
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