Toto Wolff hits out at ‘insane’ Helmut Marko

Toto Wolff has acknowledged Helmut Marko’s apology after a controversial saga involving Red Bull driver Sergio Perez.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has addressed the recent controversy surrounding Red Bull Motorsport Advisor, Helmut Marko, and his comments regarding Sergio Perez’s performance. 

Wolff believes that Marko has “learned his lesson” following the storm of criticism sparked by his comments.

Marko, a key figure in Red Bull’s motorsport development program, had made remarks implying that Perez’s struggles during this season were attributed to his ‘South American’ heritage and a lack of focus. 

These comments not only drew condemnation for their xenophobic nature but also for their inaccuracy, as Mexico is geographically situated in North America.

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In response to the backlash on social media and within the Formula 1 paddock, both Red Bull GmbH and Helmut Marko issued a public apology. 

This statement of regret acknowledged the insensitivity of Marko’s remarks.

When questioned about the criticism directed towards Marko, Toto Wolff expressed his strong disapproval of such comments in the modern era, stating, “Such statements are insane in our time. 

“They can’t be excused even by his age. 

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“But I think he has learned his lesson.”

Amid the ongoing controversy, the focus shifts to the Qatar Grand Prix weekend, where Max Verstappen, representing Red Bull, has the opportunity to secure his third consecutive Drivers’ Championship title during Saturday’s Sprint race.

Max Verstappen has established himself as a dominant force in Formula 1 over the past two seasons, consistently setting records and challenging for the championship. 

In light of this, when asked if he would extend congratulations to Helmut Marko and the entire Red Bull team, Toto Wolff affirmed his commitment to sportsmanship. 

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He stated, “[I will send] congratulations via WhatsApp. 

“Despite all the rivalry, you have to remain a fair sportsman. 

“The car, the team, the driver – they are the benchmark, so congratulations are in order.”