Lewis Hamilton said leaders like Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko are holding Formula 1 back after his controversial Sergio Perez comments, which Hamilton said are not put right just because Marko apologised.
Marko attracted a great deal of negative attention ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, having claimed that some of Red Bull driver Perez’s weaknesses can be attributed to traits of the South American culture.
Already such a claim, on top of being highly offensive, is also factually wrong as Perez is Mexican and so hails from the continent of North America.
Lewis Hamilton tears into “totally unacceptable” Helmut Marko comments
Hamilton has established himself as the lead driver force pushing for a more inclusive Formula 1, and so it was very disappointing for the seven-time World Champion and Mercedes racer to read what Marko had said, yet not surprising.
“I mean, it’s totally unacceptable what he said,” Hamilton told Sky F1.
“Whilst we say there’s no room for any type of discrimination within this sport, which there should be no room for, to have leaders, people in his position, making comments like this, is not good for us moving forward.
“So I think it just highlights for us 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 when you have people that are at the top, if there are people in the top that have those sort of mindsets that just stop us from progressing.
“Yeah, I’m not surprised to be honest.”
Hamilton said it was “interesting” that Red Bull as a team have remained silent on the matter, with it being standard practice for statements to be made condemning such incidents.
Marko did apologise for his actions, with Perez confirming that to be the case following a conversation between them.
Hamilton though said this is not something which can be put right just by apologising.
“I mean I don’t know what was said beyond…that’s something to ask Checo [Perez],” said Hamilton.
“But I think it’s not just something that you apologise for and it’s all okay, I think there needs to be more done.
“And I think teams have, when they’ve had individuals from, particularly drivers, make comments but some individuals in the background, they usually are removed, or at least they put out a quote to say they don’t support that sort of thing.
“So it is interesting that they haven’t done so for this one.
“It’s not my team, and it’s not how we move as a team. It just shows how important it is that we continue to do the work that I’m trying to do with my team and with the sport.
“We still have a lot of work to do moving forward to make sure that this is a more inclusive environment.”
Red Bull can clinch the 2023 Constructors’ Championship at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, should they claim a one-two finish and Mercedes fail to score.