Lewis Hamilton has slammed Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko’s recent xenophobic comment aimed at Sergio Perez as “totally unacceptable”, with the Mercedes driver insisting that it’s “not good” for Formula 1.
Marko’s recent comments have dominated the headlines ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, where Red Bull can seal a second consecutive Constructors’ Championship.
If Red Bull claim another 1-2, then they’ll retain their crown if Mercedes score just a point at the Marina Bay Circuit on Sunday.
The Austrians would presumably like something to put Marko’s comments into the back of people’s minds, given how poor what he said was.
Following the recent Italian Grand Prix, Marko blamed Perez’s lack of focus on where he is from, something he didn’t even state correctly.
Marko stated that Checo’s lack of focus compared to the likes of reigning World Champion Max Verstappen is because he’s “South American”, a comment which is both xenophobic and factually incorrect.
The 33-year-old is from Mexico which is found on the continent of North America, not South America.
Marko did issue an apology for his comments towards Perez, yet Hamilton has insisted that the xenophobic slur shouldn’t have been made in the first place.
Given that Hamilton is the biggest fighter towards ending racism and discrimination in motorsport, most media outlets turn to him first when incidents like this arise, something which was no different on media day in Singapore.
Hamilton declared that “leaders” in the sport shouldn’t be making comments like Marko’s, with it impacting F1 from “moving forward”.
The 103-time race winner thinks what Marko said is proof that more “needs to be done” to combat racism and discrimination in motorsport, especially when its senior officials making the comments.
Despite this, he admitted that he’s “not surprised” in what the Red Bull advisor said.
“Whilst we say there’s no room for any type of discrimination within this sport, which there should be no room for, to have leaders, people in his position, making comments like this, is not good for us moving forward,” Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
“So I think it just highlights for us the work that still needs to be done.
“There are a lot of people in the background that really are trying to combat these sorts of things, but it’s hard to manoeuvre when you have people that are at the top, if there are people in the top that have those sort of mindsets that just stop us from progressing.
“Yeah, I’m not surprised to be honest.”