Helmut Marko: Red Bull advisor officially warned by FIA after comments about Sergio Perez
Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has been officially warned by the FIA for his comments about Sergio Perez.
Last Friday Marko issued an apology via a Red Bull-owned TV channel in Austria for comments he made about Perez where he attributed the driver's inconsistent form this season to his ethnicity.
Marko, who was a former racing driver and close friend of the late Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, made his original comments at the Italian Grand Prix.
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An FIA spokesperson has told Sky Sports News: "We can confirm that Helmut Marko has received a written warning and been reminded of his responsibilities as a public figure in motor sport in line with the FIA Code of Ethics."
While Marko issued his apology via an official Red Bull outlet, there had been questions as to why there had been no public communication on the matter from the company's F1 team, Red Bull Racing, themselves up to now.
Team principal and CEO Christian Horner explained Red Bull's stance on the situation prior to the FIA's statement.
"Those comments weren't right. Helmut quickly recognised that and apologised for that both publicly and directly to Sergio. He spoke to Sergio directly about it," Horner told Sky Sports F1.
"You are always learning in life even at 80 years of age. Inevitably lessons have been learned. Checo is a massively popular member and important member of our team. I pushed very hard to sign him for the 2021 season.
"We have a huge following around the world and we take that very seriously, very responsibly. The fan following that the team has, Checo has and F1 has, we are very conscious of it. This is his 250th race and we want to focus on that.
"From Helmut's perspective he has apologised. He's not an employee of Red Bull Racing, so in terms of why didn't we put out a statement, he's part of the Red Bull Group and the Group issued an apology through the Servus TV channel."
Lewis Hamilton has expressed dismay at Marko, who is in the paddock at the Singapore Grand Prix which is live on Sky Sports F1.
"It's completely unacceptable what he said. Whilst we say there is no room for any type of discrimination within this sport which there should be - no room for it - to have leaders and people in his position making comments like this is not good for us moving forwards," said Hamilton.
"I think it just highlights, firstly, the work that still needs to be done. There are a lot of people in the background that really are trying to combat these sorts of things but it's hard to manoeuvre if there are people in the top that have those sort of mindsets, that just stop us from progressing. Not surprised, to be honest."
Perez added: "I got an apology from him, a direct apology, which to me was the most important one," he said.
"I know him, and I know that he doesn't mean it that way as well. That to me is what matters. When you have a personal relationship with someone, it's a feeling that you've got to have and to me that's the most important one.
"The most important [thing] is that we focus on this weekend and the performance on track. Obviously the personal apology to me was more important than anything else."
Next up for the F1 circus are the stunning streets of Singapore under the lights. All sessions from the Singapore GP will be live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW. Cancel anytime