Sergio Perez has accepted Helmut Marko‘s apology after the Red Bull adviser was criticised for his xenophobic comments towards the Mexican.
Marko had suggested to Servus TV that Perez struggled for form as ‘South Americans’ lacked focus compared to Europeans, before later retracting his comments.
“I had a private conversation with him and he did apologise,” Perez told the press ahead of the Singapore GP. “And that to me was the main thing.
“I know he doesn’t mean it that way. I took his apology because I know Helmut, and the personal relationship that we have, and he hasn’t mean it that way.”
Perez is an activist for Latin American awareness in motorsport, having experienced discrimination himself and did concede that had he read Marko‘s comments in isolation, he would have found them offensive.
“If I were to look at those comments [in isolation], I would feel like that [anti-Latino sentiment],” Perez added. “Knowing Helmut, because I have a personal relationship with him, I didn’t, it didn’t sound to me.
“To be honest, we have a personal relationship so whatever I say to the media, or he says to the media, it’s different to the conversations we have.”
After the Austrian’s comments went viral on social media, Marko issued an apology via Servus TV in which he admitted he was wrong and re-affirmed Red Bull‘s commitment to fighting hate.
Perez on his Red Bull seat after 2024
The driver is out-of-contract at the end of 2024 and has endured a lot of criticism during the Formula 1 season as he has struggled to match the results of Max Verstappen.
He has even been reported to be considering retirement owing to his growing family that remains across the Atlantic ocean.
Yuki Tsunoda, Liam Lawson, Daniel Ricciardo, and recently Lando Norris are candidates to replace him should he fail to improve but Perez isn’t focusing on 2024 yet.
“I’m staying to do another year,” Perez said to the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “For me, I’m staying here for another year and then we will see. That’s how I see things.
“I think we’ve got to want to get through this year as competitively as possible. I think early next year we will have a clearer picture on what the team wants to do and what I want to do.”
Red Bull could taste F1 glory in Singapore
Red Bull can win their second straight constructor’s championship this weekend, although it is rather unlikely.
The championship leaders need to out-score Mercedes by 43 points, so if the team finishes 1-2 and Mercedes fails to score a point, then they will win the title.
Mercedes can finish 10th, however if Red Bull take the fastest lap alongside a 1-2 then they will still win the title, but considering the competitiveness of the Silver Arrows, the championship is likely to roll over to the Japanese Grand Prix.