Helmut Marko has received an official warning from the FIA for his disparaging remarks against Sergio Perez.
Following recent remarks made by Red Bull Motorsport advisor Helmut Marko about Sergio Perez, the FIA has warned the Austrian and highlighted the governing body’s code of ethics in its statement.
In response to allegations that he made an inappropriate remark against Red Bull driver Perez’s nationality, Marko apologized to the Mexican driver both publicly and privately.
This comes after Marko discussed Perez’s struggles this year on Servus TV a day after the Italian Grand Prix and suggested that the Red Bull driver’s “South American” heritage was a contributing factor to the slump in his performance.
“We know that he has problems in qualifying,” Marko stated. “He has fluctuations in form, he is South American and he is just not as completely focused in his head as Max is or as Sebastian.”
As was expected, Marko’s comments sparked a heated protest on social media, which ultimately prompted the Red Bull boss to officially apologize.
Additionally, Marko and Perez had a private conversation in which the Austrian expressed his regret for the Mexican driver’s “offensive” remarks. Perez accepted Marko’s apology while adamantly stating that he had not been offended by the latter’s awkward assessment.
The FIA has now intervened with an official reprimand after the sport’s governance previously remained silent on the subject. After free practice in Singapore, the regulatory body issued a brief statement confirming the incident.
The statement read: “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.”
Red Bull Racing has similarly avoided publicly discussing the matter. When questioned by Sky Sports about the reason for this, team principal Christian Horner responded that Marko is not officially an employee of the squad.
As the Singapore Grand Prix weekeend kicked off on Friday, Horner provided an explanation of the team’s decision not to release a statement regarding Marko’s conduct.
“Those comments weren’t right,” Horner said. “Helmut quickly recognised that and apologised for that both publicly and directly to Sergio.
“He spoke to Sergio directly about it. You are always learning in life even at 80 years of age. Inevitably lessons have been learned.
“Checo is a massively popular member and important member of our team. I pushed very hard to sign him for the 2021 season.
“We have a huge following around the world and we take it very seriously, very responsibly. The fan following that the team has, Checo has and F1 has, we are very conscious of it.
“This is his 250th race and we want to focus on that.
“From Helmut’s perspective, he has apologised,” the Red Bull boss added. “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 Group and the Group issued an apology through the Servus TV channel.
“Helmut is technically a consultant to the group so it’s not really a question for me to answer.
“We’ve obviously spoken about it, I know he regrets what he said, he’s apologised, and as I say, even at 80 years of age it’s still not too late to learn.”
Lewis Hamilton is not so pleased to brush the event under the rug, contrary to what Perez suggested.
“It was completely unacceptable what he said,” the Mercedes driver satated. “While we say there is no room for any type of discrimination within this sport, which there should be no room for it.
“To have leaders and people in his position making comments like this is not good for us moving forward.
“I think it just highlights the work that still needs to be done. There are a lot of people in the background that are trying to combat these sorts of things.
“But it’s hard to manoeuvre when you have people that are at the top that have those sort of mindsets.
“It just stops us from progressing. I’m not surprised to be honest.”