Helmut Marko reveals FIA negotiation over Sergio Perez controversy

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez retired from the 2023 Japanese GP twice, following a miserable race for the Mexican.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has revealed that the FIA granted the team permission to let Sergio Perez rejoin the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, so that he could serve a time penalty.

Perez endured a disastrous Sunday at Suzuka, with the Mexican’s race having been ruined after just a few seconds.

He collided with both Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton on the run into Turn 1, breaking his front wing endplate as a result.

Due to debris on the circuit, a Safety Car was summoned, meaning every driver had to hold their permission.

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However, when Perez entered the pits for a new front wing, he overtook Lance Stroll, resulting in a five-second time penalty.

The 33-year-old served this penalty not long later, after he was forced to pit for yet another front wing, following an unnecessary collision with Kevin Magnussen at Turn 11.

Perez attempted a ridiculously late divebomb, which ended in him smashing into the side of the Haas driver.

He was slapped with a second five-second time penalty for this, something which looked like it’d carry over to the upcoming Qatar Grand Prix.

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Not long after serving the first penalty, Red Bull called Perez into the pits to retire from the race; however, the FIA granted him permission to rejoin several laps later to serve his second penalty.

Red Bull were keen to get the penalties served to avoid them carrying over to Qatar, something which was a relief to Marko.

“Thank god we were able to serve the penalty here,” Marko told Sky Germany.

“[They told us] if we did not serve the penalty here, then we would have had to do it in the next race and our strategy is to prioritise Max.

“For example, in the case of a safety car, we would send him out in a way where Max would not be hindered.”

Perez then retired from the race again after serving his second penalty, meaning he wasn’t on track to celebrate the Austrians securing the Constructors’ Championship.

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Max Verstappen claimed Red Bull the title following his 13th victory of 2023, with Marko praising the reigning World Champion for his improvements this season.

“[Verstappen] has improved his speed and he goes on with such ease and drives so well,” Marko continued.

“He’s also gotten even better with his tyre management. He’s fast and can control his tyres the way Hamilton used to.”

“Sadly, we are in a tight schedule. We have to get to Tokyo or Osaka, where the airports are. We can’t party just yet.”