Christian Horner makes surprising comment about why he didn’t punish Helmut Marko

Dr Helmut Marko made a comment ahead of the Singapore GP which Lewis Hamilton slammed as "totally unacceptable".

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has addressed why the Milton Keynes-based team didn’t release a statement ahead of last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, following Dr Helmut Marko’s xenophobic comments.

The Red Bull advisor dominated the headlines last week after making a horrendous comment directed at Sergio Perez, when discussing why the Mexican lacks focus compared to reigning World Champion Max Verstappen.

Marko stated that Perez lacks focus because he’s “South American”, a comment which is both xenophobic and factually incorrect.

Perez is in fact from Mexico, which is found in North America, not South America.

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Regardless of the 80-year-old’s geographical blip, his xenophobic comment was slammed by those in the paddock.

Lewis Hamilton described the comment as “totally unacceptable”, whilst Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff labelled it as an “embarrassing” thing to say.

Marko did apologise for his comments both publicly and privately to Perez, who accepted the Austrian’s apology.

However, it didn’t sit right with fans that Red Bull themselves didn’t release a statement, whilst it took the FIA several days to address the matter.

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The FIA warned Marko at Singapore last weekend, with the Austrian having been “reminded of his responsibility as a public figure of motor sport in line with the FIA code of ethics.”

Horner explained during the Singapore GP that Red Bull didn’t release a statement as Marko isn’t “an employee” of the Milton Keynes-based team.

Marko is actually employed by Red Bull GmbH, which is why no comment by the F1 team was made.

“His contract is with Red Bull GmbH, he’s not an employee and he’s not on the payroll of Red Bull Racing,” Horner explained to the media including

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“To be a director doesn’t mean that you are automatically an employee, as we see with other companies if you look at who the directorships are.

“His [Marko] reporting line and structure is to Red Bull GmbH, so that doesn’t sit on our books.”

Despite this, it still left many feeling uneasy that no statement was made by the energy drink company or the F1 team, regardless of who Marko actually works for.