Red Bull motorsport consultant Dr Helmut Marko has apologised for an “offensive” comment he made about the team’s driver Sergio Perez earlier this week.Max Verstappen.
Speaking to Red Bull’s Servus TV channel about Perez’s performance on Monday, Marko compared him to Red Bull’s two world champions, Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel, who are Dutch and German, respectively.
“We know that he [Perez] has problems in qualifying,” Marko said. “He fluctuates, he’s South American and his head just isn’t as fully focused as Max or Sebastian was.” Perez is Mexican by nationality, making him North American.
After his comments drew criticism online, Servus TV published a statement attributed to Marko apologising for his comment.
“Concerning my remark about Sergio Perez, [on] Servus TV Sport and Talk, Monday September 4th: 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,” Marko’s statement read.
“I was trying to make a point that Checo has fluctuated in his performance this year, but it was wrong to attribute this to his cultural heritage.”
Marko, a former F1 driver and winner of the 1971 Le Mans 24 Hours, has been heavily involved with Red Bull’s junior driver programme over the last two decades. The 80-year-old Austrian was a friend of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, who died in October last year.
Perez, who lies second in the championship, has been consistently beaten by Verstappen during 2023. Verstappen is currently on an all-time record winning streak of 10 consecutive grand prix victories, during which time Perez has scored fewer than half the points of his team mate and failed to reach Q3 on five occasions.
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