Toto Wolff delivers verdict on ‘crazy’ Helmut Marko statements

Oliver Harden
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff with his lips pursed looking stern.

Toto Wolff tears into Mercedes Brazilian GP performance.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has reiterated his criticism of Helmut Marko’s controversial comments about Sergio Perez, describing the Red Bull advisor’s statement as “madness” in this day and age.  

Marko courted controversy following last month’s Italian Grand Prix by erroneously describing Perez – F1’s only Mexican driver – as South American, before going on to claim Perez’s struggles alongside team-mate Max Verstappen in 2023 can partly be explained by the nature of his background.

It emerged ahead of the Singapore GP that Marko had met with Perez to apologise personally, with Mercedes leading the criticism of the 80-year-old.

Toto Wolff doubles down on Helmut Marko criticism

After Lewis Hamilton, a passionate anti-discrimination campaigner, condemned Marko’s comments as “completely unacceptable”, Wolff aired his dismay over “the mindset that you can even come up with these things and that hasn’t got any place in Formula 1.”

Wolff has doubled down on his criticism of Marko, insisting his advanced age is no excuse for his comments.

He told Austrian publication oe24: “Such statements are madness in our time. They can’t be excused by his age. But I think he has learned his lesson.”

Verstappen is almost certain to clinch his third successive World Championship at this weekend’s Qatar GP, with a sixth-place finish in Saturday’s sprint race enough to secure the crown.

Wolff, who is not in attendance in Lusail as he continues his recovery from recent knee surgery, appeared to discredit the Red Bull driver’s achievements after Verstappen took a record 10th straight win at last month’s Italian GP, claiming such numbers are only relevant on Wikipedia. recommends

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Although Mercedes and Red Bull have had an uneasy relationship since Hamilton and Verstappen fought for the Championship in 2021, Wolff says he will reach out to congratulate his rivals – specifically his compatriot Marko – when Verstappen seals the deal.

He said: “I’ll congratulate him via WhatsApp. Despite all the rivalry, you have to remain a fair sportsman. The car, the team, the driver – they are the benchmark, you can only congratulate them.”

Hamilton emerged victorious from F1’s only previous visit to Qatar in 2021, which remains his penultimate F1 win to date, but despite the team’s fond memories of the venue Wolff believes Mercedes will have to wait for Mexico and Brazil for their next realistic shots of victory.

Asked if Hamilton could challenge for another win this weekend, he replied: “No.

“With so many corners, our car is still unpredictable. I expect more in Mexico or Brazil. Until then, I want to be fit and on the spot again.”

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