Lewis Hamilton mentioned Pink Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko’s feedback attributing Sergio Perez’s inconsistent type in 2023 to his ethnicity had been “utterly unacceptable.”
Marko, 80, mentioned after the Italian Grand Prix that Perez didn’t have the identical “focus” as world champion drivers like Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.
“We all know that he has issues in qualifying, he has fluctuations in type — he’s South American and he’s simply not as utterly centered in his head as Max is or as Sebastian,” Marko mentioned.
Verstappen, Perez’s Pink Bull teammate, is Dutch. Vettel is German. Perez is from Mexico, a rustic that’s not in South America, a continent the place F1 champions like Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna had been born.
Marko apologized days later for what he mentioned about Perez.
“I wish to apologize for my offensive comment and wish to make it completely clear that I don’t consider that we will generalize concerning the folks from any nation, any race, any ethnicity. I used to be attempting to make a degree that Checo has fluctuated in his efficiency this 12 months, nevertheless it was fallacious to attribute this to his cultural heritage.”
Hamilton is the one Black driver in System 1 and has been very outspoken about racing’s lack of variety. The seven-time F1 champion instructed Sky Sports activities that variety efforts are hampered when folks in positions of energy like Marko make feedback like he did.
“It’s utterly unacceptable what he mentioned,” Hamilton instructed Sky. “While we are saying there is no such thing as a room for any kind of discrimination inside this sport — which there must be no room for it — to have leaders and other people in his place making feedback like this isn’t good for us transferring forwards.”
“I feel it simply highlights, firstly, the work that also must be performed. There are lots of people within the background that actually are attempting to fight these types of issues nevertheless it’s laborious to maneuver if there are folks within the high which have these kind of mindsets that simply cease us from progressing. Not shocked, to be sincere.”
Perez mentioned Thursday that Marko had apologized to him for his feedback.
“I do know him and I do know that he doesn’t imply it that approach as effectively,” Perez mentioned. “That to me is what issues. When you’ve got a private relationship with somebody, it’s a sense that you simply’ve obtained to have and to me that’s an important one.”
Perez is a distant second to teammate Verstappen within the System 1 factors standings as Verstappen is effectively on his method to a 3rd consecutive title. Verstappen enters Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix with 10 consecutive Grand Prix wins and has gained 12 of the 14 races to date in 2023. The opposite two race wins have been by Perez as Pink Bull has gained 15 consecutive races relationship again to the 2022 season finale.