Helmut Marko has apologised for comments he made regarding Red Bull driver Sergio Perez earlier this week which linked the Mexican’s poor run of form to his culture.
Earlier this week, Marko came under fire after making references to Perez’s birthplace to explain why he is trailing Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen by 145 points in the standings.
Appearing on Servus TV, Marko pointed toward Perez being “South American” as a cause of his fluctuating form throughout the 2023 Formula 1 season.
“Let’s remember that he is South American, and so he is not as focused as Max Verstappen or Sebastian Vettel was.”
When approached by Austrian media outlet oe24 about the controversy, Marko responded; “It wasn’t meant that way. I meant that a Mexican has a different mentality than a German or a Dutchman.”
Now though, amid much media scrutiny, Marko has finally apologised for his problematic comments by releasing a statement.
“I would like to apologise for my offensive remark and want to make it absolutely clear that I do not believe that we can generalise about people from any country, any race, any ethnicity,” said Marko via Servus TV.
“I was trying to make a point that Checo has fluctuated in his performance this year, but it was wrong to attribute this to his cultural heritage.”
Perez recently told DAZN that he wishes to be in a “comfortable” team situation moving forward, suggesting he will “have to look for alternatives” if that can’t happen at Red Bull.
Despite the Mexican retaining a contract with Red Bull for 2024, Marko said last month that Perez’s future wasn’t “100% certain“. It remains to be seen whether this latest incident will cause Perez to increasingly look beyond Red Bull for the remainder of his F1 career.