Sergio Perez rushes to Helmut Marko’s defence amid calls for him to be sacked

Dr Helmut Marko privately apologised to Sergio Perez following his xenophobic comment earlier this month.

Sergio Perez revealed on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix that he’s accepted Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko’s apology, after the Austrian made a xenophobic comment directed at the Mexican.

Marko’s recent comments have dominated the headlines ahead of this weekend’s event at the Marina Bay Circuit, where Perez is looking to strengthen his P2 in the Drivers’ Championship.

However, Marko has made preparations difficult after making a comment about the 33-year-old’s lack of focus, something he insisted was caused by his nationality.

Marko blamed Perez’s lack of focus on him being “South American”, something which is both xenophobic and factually incorrect.

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Perez is from Mexico, which is part of North America, not South America.

Marko did make a public apology for his comments and has also personally apologised to the Red Bull driver, who has accepted the Austrian’s apology.

The Mexican is keen for the team to simply “move on” from the comments, with the driver admitting that he knew Marko didn’t mean what he said, based on their “personal relationship”.

“He did apologise,” Perez revealed, as reported by

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“That, to me, was the main thing. And yeah, basically we move on.

“I have a personal relationship with him. You can always have those feelings, you know, when you says that sort of stuff, knowing the person helps a lot because I know he doesn’t mean it that way.

“I took his apology because I know Helmut from the personal relationship that we have that he doesn’t mean it.”

Perez heads to Singapore targeting another victory at the demanding night race, where he was victorious 12 months ago.

READ: Helmut Marko hails ‘top replacement’ as he makes Daniel Ricciardo injury revelation

A win for Perez on Sunday would end Max Verstappen’s winning streak, which reached 10 races at Monza.

Perez will be targeting a podium at the very least having returned to form in recent races, with him having claimed three rostrums from the last four races.

For Red Bull to win the Constructors’ Championship this weekend, Verstappen and Perez will need to claim another 1-2 finish and hope that Mercedes fail to pick up any more than a point.