Helmut Marko apologises to Sergio Perez after Mexican GP organisers release statement

Red Bull’s key advisor Helmut Marko has been criticised after making a controversial remark about Sergio Perez following his string of poor performances.

Dr. Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s key advisor, has backtracked on his previous comments that linked Sergio Perez’s nationality to his mental attributes as a driver. 

The controversial remarks sparked a backlash, with critics labelling them as racist. 

Marko’s comments had caused a stir when he suggested that Mexican driver Perez, being “South American,” lacks the same level of focus as his counterparts Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.

The backlash to Marko’s remarks was swift, with both fans and fellow figures in the motorsport community expressing their displeasure. 

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Even the organisers of the Mexican Grand Prix issued a statement condemning the comments, emphasising the importance of maintaining a respectful and united Formula 1 community.

A statement in Spanish from the organisers read, “Inappropriate comments have no place in any area, including sports. 

“What is important now is that steps are taken to prevent this from happening again and an apology is made where necessary. 

“We encourage everyone to build a more respectful and united community in Formula 1.”

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Responding to the criticism and controversy, Dr. Helmut Marko sought to clarify his remarks.

He stated to the Osterreich newspaper, “I didn’t mean it that way. 

“I meant that a Mexican has a different mentality than a German or a Dutchman. 

“But who knows. Maybe he is able to control himself.” 

The Austrian, who is 80 years old, acknowledged that his comments had been misconstrued and emphasised the importance of understanding cultural differences.

Marko’s contrition extended to a statement attributed to him, which was posted on the Servus TV website. 

He said, “I would like to make it clear that I am firmly convinced that you cannot generalise people, regardless of their culture, nationality, or ethnic origin. 

“It was wrong to make a reference to his origins. 

“I would like to apologise for that.”

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Despite the apology, some motorsport analysts believe that Marko’s comments may be part of a broader strategy to keep pressure on Sergio Perez.

Perez currently holds a valid contract with Red Bull through 2024, but the team has options to reassess their lineup. 

The Mexican driver had expressed his desire to feel valued within the team, stating, “If this feeling is missing in 2024, I’ll have to look for alternatives.”