With Helmut Marko making headlines for all the wrong reasons after the Italian Grand Prix, Sergio Perez has revealed how a face-to-face conversation with the Red Bull advisor went.
Marko landed himself in hot water after the Italian Grand Prix, with the Austrian attributing some of the Mexican driver’s weaknesses as a driver to cultural traits due to being from South America.
Aside from being xenophobic in nature, Marko’s comments were baffling in accuracy and logic – Perez hails from Mexico, in North America, while the likes of Ayrton Senna, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Nelson Piquet’s accomplishments poke massive championship-sized holes in Marko’s assertion.
Sergio Perez received apology from Helmut Marko
Speaking to the media on Thursday in Singapore, Perez revealed that he and Marko had a face-to-face conversation about the situation – just after Marko had released a public apology for the incident via Red Bull-owned ServusTV earlier this week.
“I had a private conversation with him. He did apologise and that, to me, was the main thing,” Perez said.
“Basically, we move on, I have a personal relationship with him. and I think you can always have those feelings when you have that sort of talk – knowing the person helps a lot, because I know he doesn’t mean it that way.
“I took his apology, because I know, from the personal relationships that we’ve had, that he doesn’t mean it that way.”
Asked whether he had viewed the comments as being anti-Mexican or anti-Latin in sentiment, Perez defended Marko that the team leader had not been intentionally xenophobic.
“If I were to look at those comments, I would feel like that, but I know Helmut because I have a personal relationship with him,” he said.
“We have a personal relationship so whatever I say to the media, what he says to the media, is different from the conversations we have.
“Anyway, we have a good relationship and I know that is not related to that side.
“Helmut did apologise, I think we all make mistakes. What to me was the most important is that I take his personal apology. What happens afterward, on the media side or on the public eye, that’s not in my control. To me, the most important part is the personal relationship.”
“He will tell what he thinks, I think something that we can appreciate from Helmut is that he is very transparent to the media, and to the world in general. Also to the drivers.”
Asked whether he had taken offence at the comments when they first emerged in the media, Perez said: “Not at all, if I’m totally honest. He doesn’t mean it that way, and I didn’t get offended at all, personally. Let’s say, if those comments were on a different perspective or so on, I would have taken them differently. But, for me, it’s just how things are, and I didn’t take them personally.
“When you read them, in isolation, they can be very disrespectful. But, like I say, knowing Helmut and having that personal relationship, helped me to understand him. He gave me a personal apology.”
Will Sergio Perez remain with Red Bull for 2024?
As for whether Perez intends to stay on with Red Bull as long as the team will have him, despite the behaviour of key decision-makers like Marko, the Mexican driver said the situation remains clear.
“For me, I’m staying here for another year. Then we will see, it’s how I see things,” he said.
“I think we want to get through this year, as competitively as possible and the start of next year.
“Early next year, we will have a clearer picture of what the team wants to do and what I want to do.”