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Pressure mounts on Marko as FIA issue written warning

Fallout continues over controversial comments from Red Bull advisor regarding Sergio Perez

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Dr Helmut Marko suffers another blow as the FIA intervenes over his controversial Sergio Perez comments. 

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko speaks with Sergio Perez (Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool/Getty Images)
Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko speaks with Sergio Perez (Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool/Getty Images)

Marko has attracted condemnation for his comments on Sergio Perez’s performances. In an interview for Red Bull’s Servus TV channel, he said being South American causes a lack of focus. As Perez’s Mexican heritage is distinctly North American, this is inaccurate in more than one sense.

In his remarks, Marko highlighted the focus of Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel compared to Perez: “We know that he has problems in qualifying, he has fluctuations in form. He is South American [sic] and he is just not as completely focused in his head as Max [Verstappen] is or as Sebastian [Vettel].”

Red Bull’s advisor has since apologised, but the incident continues to haunt Marko and impact the team. Now, the FIA has become involved, issuing a written warning.

Dressing down from governing body

As reported by, the FIA has said in a statement the warning contained a reminder of Marko’s “responsibilities as a public figure” in world motorsport:

We can confirm that Helmut Marko has received a written warning and been reminded of his responsibilities as a public figure in motorsport in line with the FIA Code of Ethics.”

Red Bull has been silent on the incident, not releasing a statement. Team Principal and CEO Christian Horner clarified the team’s position on Friday after practice for the Singapore Grand Prix.  Speaking to Sky Sports, he first stated Marko is “not an employee of Red Bull Racing.”

Horner confirmed he disagreed with the comments, and said Perez received a private apology from Marko: “Firstly those comments were, they weren’t right. Helmut quickly recognised that and apologised for that both publicly and directly to Sergio.”

“He spoke directly to Sergio about it and I think you’re always learning in life, even at 80 years of age, and inevitably lessons have been learned.”

“He’s not an employee of Red Bull Racing so in terms of why didn’t we put out a statement, he’s part of the Red Bull wider group and the Group issued that apology through the Servus TV channel.”

Perez has since hinted he could leave Red Bull if the environment is hostile. He revealed that he believes Marko “regrets” his comments, adding that he was not offended: “We’ve spoken about it, I know he regrets what he said. I didn’t get offended at all personally. Let’s say if those comments were from a different perspective or so on, I would have to take them differently.”

“But to me, it’s just how things are, and I didn’t take them personally.”

“I think we all make mistakes… What happens afterwards, and on the media side or in public, that’s not in my control.”

Wolff wades in

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff condemned the comments. He said that the remarks did not belong in F1, adding that diversity in F1 is vital: “We’re laughing about South America. But it’s a topic that’s not at all funny. It’s not only what has been said, but it’s the mindset, that you can even come up with these things. That hasn’t got any place in F1.”

“That’s not something that should have been said in the past, and certainly not now, and in the future.”

“We all know that we need more diversity in F1, more inclusion, and the teams do their best to create an environment where this is possible.”

“Obviously, statements like this don’t shine the light on F1 that F1 deserves for all of the activities.”

Feature Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool/Getty Images 

  1. ugh people need to stop being so picky and complain about everything. people make mistakes. its what is called being human. grow up and especial Hamilton and the FIA with there picky behavior

    1. Agree. this stupid so called “discrimination” policy leads to insanity. It applies only to blacks or brown races. Never to Europeans. Stop discriminating toward white people. hamilton who has multimillionaire contract and privilege in everything keeps talking about some kind of discrimination. it is nonsense. It needs to be stopped.

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