Sergio Perez’s father makes surprise claim about Helmut Marko after Mexico GP

Oliver Harden
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez grimaces in the garage at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix.

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez grimaces in the garage at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez’s father has insisted that Helmut Marko remains his son’s “best teacher” despite his troubled F1 2023 season at Red Bull.

After winning two of the opening four races in Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan, Perez’s season has imploded spectacularly over recent months to leave him clinging on to his Red Bull seat.

While team-mate Max Verstappen has eased to a third consecutive World Championship in 2023, Perez is a massive 251 adrift and is at risk of losing second in the Drivers’ standings to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who sits just 20 points behind with three races remaining.

Should Red Bull replace Sergio Perez with Daniel Ricciardo?

Perez recorded his second retirement in four races at his home race on Sunday, crashing out at first corner after a collision with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.

That came 24 hours after Perez was outqualified at his home race by Daniel Ricciardo, who has been strongly linked with replacing him potentially as soon as next season.

In just his fourth race back since reclaiming a seat on the grid in July, Ricciardo went on to finish seventh – his best result in exactly 12 months.

Despite the growing speculation surrounding his place in the team, Perez’s father Antonio is adamant that team and driver remain committed to each other for 2024.

He told Sky Germany: “Of course, Checo will be driving with Red Bull next year. The Perez family and the Red Bull family are one.

Meanwhile, Mr Perez said that his son retains a “Champion’s mentality” and picked out Marko, Red Bull’s long-serving advisor, for special praise.

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 2023: Head-to-head qualifying and race stats between team-mates

All the mid-season driver swaps Red Bull have made in their F1 history

Marko courted controversy at last month’s Italian Grand Prix by insinuating that the nature of Perez’s background was partly to blame for his struggles against Verstappen in 2023, as well as erroneously describing the 33-year-old as South American – a comment that enraged fans in the driver’s home land.

Marko, 80, apologised personally to Perez ahead of the following round in Singapore, with the Guadalajara-born star – the most successful Mexican driver in F1 history with six grand prix victories to his name – insistent that the affair had been blown out of proportion.

Perez Sr told Sky Italia: “How do I see [Checo] on the weekend of his home grand prix? He always has the same approach and only needs one thing: to win.

“He has the mentality of a Champion. Checo, Verstappen and Red Bull are a family, but they all work for success. He [Marko] is the best teacher for Sergio.”

Read next: Mexican Grand Prix conclusions: Sergio Perez’s Day of the Dead nightmare