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FIA Issues Written Warning To Red Bull’s Marko For Perez Comments

  • 2 min read

Formula One’s governing body issued a written warning to Red Bull’s motorsport adviser Helmut Marko on Friday after the Austrian blamed the patchy form of the team’s Mexican driver Sergio Perez on his ethnicity.

Marko, 80, apologised last week after referring to Perez as a “South American” who was less focused than dominant Red Bull team mate Max Verstappen or the team’s now-retired champion Sebastian Vettel.

“We can confirm that Helmut Marko has received a written warning and been reminded of his responsibilities as a public figure in motor sport in line with the FIA Code of Ethics,” said an FIA spokesman at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Perez said on Thursday he had accepted a personal apology from Marko, whose comments continued to provoke a strong reaction in the paddock.

“We laugh about (Mexico being in) South America … but it’s a topic that’s not at all funny,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told reporters.

“It’s not only what has been said but the mindset that you can even come up with these things, and that hasn’t got any place in Formula One. That’s not something that should have been said in the past and certainly not now.”

His comments echoed strong criticism from Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton who on Thursday had said Marko’s words were “not something that you just apologise (for) and its all OK”.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports television that Perez was “massively popular” within the team and he had pushed hard to sign him.

“Those comments weren’t right. Helmut quickly recognised that and apologised for that both publicly and directly to Sergio. He spoke to Sergio directly about it,” he said.

“We have a huge following around the world and we take that very seriously, very responsibly…This is his (Perez’s) 250th race and we want to focus on that.

“He (Marko) is 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 Group and the Group issued an apology through the Servus TV channel.”

Perez joined Red Bull in 2021 with the team looking for a solid team mate to support Dutch driver Verstappen, who is now heading for his third world title.

The Mexican has won six races, two of them this season, and has a contract for 2024.