Helmut Marko responds to backlash: “It wasn’t meant that way”

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 28: Red Bull Racing Team Consultant Dr Helmut Marko walks in the Paddock prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 28, 2022 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images ) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202210280981 // Usage for editorial use only //

Helmut Marko is renowned for controversial statements, but earlier this week, some of his comments went well over the line. Amidst backlash on social media, the 80-year-old was asked for a response to the criticisms.

Speaking in an interview with Servus TV earlier this week, Marko spoke at length about Sergio Perez’s performances.

However, amidst this analysis, some other statements were filtered by the media. Specifically, the Austrian made stereotypical and (objectively) incorrect comments about Perez.

These are the quotes in question:

“Let’s remember that he is South American, and so he is not as focused as Max Verstappen or Sebastian Vettel was. 

“But racing is his forte, and he had a very good race. Overtaking three drivers, in George Russell and the Ferraris, was not easy.”

Sandwiched between his commentary over Perez’s Italy performance were clearly offensive remarks about the Mexican driver being less “focused” than his European counterparts.

Not only is this a harmful stereotype, but Perez is not even from South America – since Mexico is located in the southern part of North America.

AzerbaijanGP, Baku - Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing Driver

In any case, Marko’s comments were understandably received very poorly. In recent days, these comments have circulated and become a subject of criticism for Marko and the Red Bull team.

Austrian outlet oe24 has asked Marko for a response to the backlash. This is what he said:

“It wasn’t meant that way. I meant that a Mexican has a different mentality than a German or a Dutchman 

“But who knows, maybe it’s [the mentality] controlled.”

Evidently, these statements are little more than a doubling-down of what was originally said.

It seems unlikely Marko will issue any form of apology unless Red Bull feels compelled to by public pressure from the fans.

Helmut Marko made similar comments about Perez last year, so it remains to be seen how Christian Horner’s team handled the situation.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang