Red Bull chief Helmut Marko says he does not want to discuss his controversial comments on Sergio Perez, saying he ‘will only talk about sporting matters’ from now on.
Last week, Marko yet again found himself in hot water after making xenophobic comments toward his own driver following the Italian Grand Prix.
The 80-year-old said: ‘Let’s remember that he [Perez] is South American and so his head is not as focused as Max Verstappen or as Sebastian Vettel was.’
As well as incorrectly stereotyping an entire continent, his words drew criticism for the simple fact that Perez is from Mexico which is of course in North America.
Initially, Marko, the head of Red Bull’s driver development programme, refused to apologise, instead doubling down on his remarks by saying: ‘I meant that a Mexican has a different mentality than a German or a Dutchman.’
But eventually, he did say sorry: ‘I would like to apologise for my offensive remark and want to make it absolutely clear that I do not believe that we can generalise about the people from any country, any race, any ethnicity.
‘I was trying to make a point that Checo (Perez) has fluctuated in his performance this year, but it was wrong to attribute this to his cultural heritage.’
Marko is infamous for making derogatory comments towards drivers both in the Red Bull family and elsewhere on the grid, and there is a growing feeling among fans that action must be taken against him.
Perez and Red Bull are yet to comment on the matter publicly, though it will surely a big topic of discussion in the build-up to this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
However, Marko claims he has no plans to comment further on the controversy, telling German publication F1-Insider: ‘If there are questions about that, I won’t answer them. I will only talk about sporting matters.’
At Marina Bay, the all conquering Red Bull have the opportunity to clinch the constructors championship with seven races still to go, though for that to happen they would need to finish 1-2 and the Mercedes’ of Sir Lewis Hamilton and George Russell would have to fail to score.
Having won all 14 races so far in 2023, many expect Red Bull to take victory, with Verstappen aiming to extend his consecutive win record to 11 grand prix.
Marko has aired on the side of caution however, saying: ‘A lot can always happen there. Verstappen has never won in Singapore.
‘Last year there was a misunderstanding with him in qualifying. That meant the race was already over. Fortunately, Sergio then took the victory.
‘Recently, turns 16 to 19 have been dropped. That makes the circuit faster and more unpredictable for us in the run-up.
‘But I’m most worried about Ferrari. They were already very strong in Monza. One thing is certain: Once we’ve come through Singapore on a positive note, I’ll be able to sleep a little easier.’
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