Red Bull F1 adviser Helmut Marko receives warning from FIA over Sergio Pérez comments


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Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko has received a written warning from Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, over comments about Sergio Pérez’s ethnicity. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Marko said in a TV interview that Red Bull driver Pérez, who comes from Mexico, was “South American and he is just not as completely focused in his head” as Max Verstappen.
  • Marko later apologized for the comments, but no statement was made by Red Bull Racing as he is not an employee.
  • An FIA spokesperson confirmed to The Athletic that Marko has “received a written warning and been reminded of his responsibilities as a public figure in motor sport in line with the FIA Code of Ethics.”


Marko’s comments about Pérez after the Italian Grand Prix sparked widespread condemnation through the F1 paddock, and sparked a big fan backlash on social media.

The 80-year-old has a senior role within the Red Bull group as its motorsport adviser, playing a key role in the development of young drivers and deciding who races for its two F1 teams, Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri.

Marko apologized both publicly and directly to Pérez. The driver said Thursday in Singapore that he was not personally offended by the comments, and that he had a good personal relationship with Marko.

Red Bull’s F1 team principal, Christian Horner, said on Sky Sports on Friday that Marko’s comments “weren’t right,” and explained the team did not issue a statement because he was not an employee of the team — but instead is part of the Red Bull group.

“He’s not an employee of Red Bull Racing, so in terms of why didn’t we put out a statement,” Horner said. “He’s part of the Red Bull wider group, and the group issued that apology through the (Red Bull-owned) ServusTV channel.”

The FIA took action by issuing Marko with a written warning over the comments. Article 1.2 of the FIA’s Code of Ethics states: “There shall be no discrimination between participants to the FIA activities on the basis of race, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, philosophical or political opinion, family situation or disability.”

Beyond the warning against Marko, the FIA has an Ethics Committee that can investigate alleged breaches of its Ethics Code “upon complaints from one of the FIA parties or third parties.”

The lack of action from Red Bull over Marko’s comments drew criticism from Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton, F1’s only Black driver, who has been the sport’s leading voice on inclusion and combatting racism in recent years.

Hamilton said to Sky Sports on Thursday in Singapore that Marko’s comments were “completely unacceptable” and there “needs to be more done” than just giving an apology.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, said Friday: “It’s not only what has been said, but it’s the mindset, that you can even come out with these things.

“That hasn’t got any place in Formula 1. That’s not something that should have been said in the past, and certainly not now. In the future, we all know that we need more diversity in Formula 1, more inclusion, and the teams do their best to create an environment where this is possible.

“Obviously statements like this don’t shine the light on Formula 1 that Formula 1 deserves.”

Required reading

(Photo: Mark Thompson / Getty Images)

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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