Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has issued an apology for what he’s acknowledged was an “offensive remark” directed at the firm’s Formula 1 driver Sergio Perez in the aftermath of the Italian Grand Prix.
Marko’s ill-advised comment in reference to the 33-year-old Perez was made during this week’s edition of the Red Bull-owned Servus TV channel’s Sport und Talk programme.
While making a geographically inaccurate reference to Perez being “South American” while talking about the fluctuations in his recent F1 form, Marko wound up effectively linking Perez’s ethnicity to a perceived lack of focus relative to Red Bull’s F1 champions Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen.
Marko’s subsequent attempt to explain away (rather than apologise for) that remark to Austrian outlet oe24 has now been followed by an actual apology, issued via the same Servus TV platform that had hosted the original interview.
The Red Bull-owned channel’s website posted a statement from Marko in German and English.
The English version read: “Concerning my remark about Sergio Perez, ServusTV Sport and Talk, Monday September 4: I would like to apologise for my offensive remark and want to make it absolutely clear that I do not believe that we can generalise about the people from any country, any race, any ethnicity.
“I was trying to make a point that Checo has fluctuated in his performance this year, but it was wrong to attribute this to his cultural heritage.”