Helmut Marko apologises for offensive remarks about Sergio Perez amidst Red Bull uneasy future
Red Bull have said they do not “condone these sentiments” after their chief advisor made offensive comments about the teams driver Sergio Perez
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Helmut Marko has apologised for making an offensive remark about Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. The team’s chief adviser blamed the driver’s inconsistent form during the 2023 season on his ethnicity.
Marko, 80, has been an extremely influential figure for the dominating team and has been responsible for choosing drivers for both Red Bull and their junior team AlphaTauri. The advisor said in a statement: “I would like to apologise for my offensive remark.
“I want to make it absolutely clear that I do not believe we can generalise about the people from any country, any race, any ethnicity.”
The statement, which was released via Red Bull’s Servus TV website, continued: “I was trying to make a point that Checo’s form has fluctuated this year, but it was wrong to attribute this to his cultural heritage.”
Senior figures at Red Bull told Sky Sports News that they “in no way condone these sentiments and want to distance themselves from the remarks. The team values reject xenophobia and racism in all its forms.”
Marko made his original comments on a Servus TV programme after the Italian Grand Prix in Monza last weekend. When discussing Perez’s season, Marko said: “We know that he has problems in qualifying, he has fluctuations in form, he is South American and he is just not as completely focused in his head as Max [Verstappen] is or as Sebastian [Vettel].”
Marko has made several references to Perez being South American, despite the driver originating from Mexico, which is part of North America. Marko attempted to clarify the statement last week, but this just exacerbated the issue.
According to Austrian website oe24, Marko reportedly said: “It wasn’t meant that way. I meant that a Mexican has a different mentality than a German or a Dutchman. But who knows, maybe it’s controlled.”
Perez won two of the first four races of the 2023 season and was challenging for the driver’s World Championship before his teammate Max Verstappen began to dominate the season. Perez then failed to qualify in the top 10 for five consecutive races, which threw the driver’s potential future with the team into question.
Verstappen has now secured 10 consecutive wins and is on target to take his third world championship in the next few races. The Dutch driver is now 145 points ahead of his teammate, who is second, in the Driver’s Championship.
Marko, who is a former racing driver himself, was a close friend of the late Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, who died last year. The chief advisor is known for making some dramatic decisions in recent months, including being involved in AlphaTauri’s axing of Nyck de Vries.
South America has four Formula 1 World Champions including five-time winner Manuel Fangio, triple winners Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna and two-time winner Emerson Fittipaldi.