ESPN Formula 1 commentator Fernando Tornello believes “too much trouble” has been made over Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko’s recent xenophobic comments, directed at Sergio Perez.
Marko’s comments directed at Perez dominated the F1 headlines ahead of the recent Singapore Grand Prix, where Red Bull’s 15-race winning streak concluded.
Ahead of Singapore, Marko insisted that Perez lacked focus compared to reigning World Champion Max Verstappen because he’s “South American”, a comment which is both xenophobic and factually incorrect.
Perez was born in Mexico, which is part of North America, not South America as stated by the 80-year-old.
Marko’s comments were slammed by the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff, with the Red Bull advisor’s comments having been labelled as “totally unacceptable” and “embarrassing”.
Despite this, no statement was made by Red Bull over the matter, something Christian Horner revealed was because the Austrian isn’t employed by the F1 team itself.
Whilst no statement was made, the FIA did send Marko a formal warning, reminding him of his responsibilities.
Marko did apologise for his comments both in public and privately to Checo, who accepted what the advisor said to him.
Tornello is convinced that too much fuss was made about what Marko said, with the Austrian being labelled as a “provocateur” to try and improve his drivers.
“You’re making too much trouble over what he says,” Tornello told Esto.
“He’s simply a provocateur. What he really wants to do is to motivate the drivers, but he is very tough.
“He does it to poke and prod the drivers so they get more out of the car and with grit and effort to improve. I think this is why he said that about Checo.”
Whilst Marko is often very quick to criticise Perez, he is never seen saying a bad word about Verstappen.
The Dutchman only ever seems to receive praise, something Tornello thinks is because the Dutchman would depart Red Bull if something negative was said about him.
“It is not with Checo, the issue is really with everyone,” Tornello continued.
“He does not speak ill of Verstappen because Verstappen does not give him reasons and he must have him as a spoiled child, because if Verstappen leaves the team, it starts to get complicated because he goes to a rival team on top, so they have to keep him there.
“Take it with a smile on your face.”