Following his comments about Sergio Perez, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has received an official warning from the FIA. Marko’s subsequent apology through a Red Bull-owned channel did little to reduce the uproar within the F1 community with many branding his comments as “racist and xenophobic.”
Marko’s Controversial Comments: Helmut Marko landed in hot water after comments made after the Italian Grand Prix, where he attributed Sergio Perez’s inconsistent performance this season to his ethnicity.
FIA’s Stance: A spokesperson for FIA confirmed to Sky Sports News that Marko has been handed a written warning and reminded of his duties as a public figure in motorsports, referencing the FIA Code of Ethics.
Red Bull’s Response: While Marko publicly apologized through a Red Bull platform, the absence of a direct statement from Red Bull Racing raised eyebrows. Team principal Christian Horner elaborated on Red Bull’s position and their commitment to global fans.
Helmut Marko’s original comments at the beginning of last week stirred up significant controversy in the F1 community. Last Friday, in response to the backlash, Marko expressed his remorse via Servus TV, a Red Bull-owned Austrian channel. The FIA, not one to take such matters lightly, has now addressed the situation. A representative has confirmed to 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.”
“The FIA takes issues of discrimination and inappropriate comments seriously. We have issued a written warning to Mr. Marko and reminded him of his responsibilities as a prominent figure in Formula 1. We expect all members of the F1 community to adhere to the highest standards of conduct and respect.”
“Those comments weren’t right. Helmut quickly recognised that and apologised for that both publicly and directly to Sergio.”
The Red Bull Racing community had been notably silent on the matter, sparking questions from fans as well as seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton who claimed it was odd that Red Bull did not release a statement. In a conversation with Sky Sports F1, Team Principal and CEO of Red Bull Racing Christian Horner provided clarity on the team’s stance, stating:
“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.”
“We acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and the concerns raised by fans and the wider motorsports community. Red Bull Racing does not condone any form of discrimination or offensive remarks. We stand by our commitment to inclusivity and diversity in Formula 1. Sergio Perez is a valuable member of our team, and his performance is influenced by various factors, none of which are related to his ethnicity.”
He also emphasized Red Bull’s global fan base and the importance of their responsibility, especially concerning Sergio Perez, citing his popularity and significance to the team.