After commenting on Sergio Perez‘s performance, Red Bull‘s Helmut Marko drew the F1 driver’s “South American” heritage into the equation. Differences between Perez and Max Verstappen as well as Sebastian Vettel, two world champions under Red Bull‘s banner, were outlined by Marko. He insinuated that Perez’s focus waned in comparison to the latter two.
Marko’s statement sparked a social media upsurge, particularly in Perez’s native land, Mexico, which is in fact part of North America.
Amid controversy, Marko had already rendered a public apology through Red Bull‘s ServusTV channel after the Italian GP. Perez, before the Singapore GP, mentioned that there had been a private exchange as well. “I had a private conversation with him,” Perez revealed. “He did apologise. And that to me was the main thing.”
Swift to bounce back, Perez highlighted the importance of their relationship, stating, “And yeah, basically, we move on. I have a personal relationship with him. And I think you can always have those feelings when you see that sort of stuff.” Referring to the controversy, he said, “Knowing the person helps a lot, because I know he doesn’t mean it that way. And I took his apology, because I know Helmut from the personal relationship that we have that he doesn’t mean it that way.”
The said incident did not irk the Mexican racer, as he firmly asserts that Marko’s comments were misconstrued. Dismissing any offense from the incident, Perez said, “Not at all, if I’m totally honest. Knowing Helmut, like I say, have a personal relationship with him. I know, he doesn’t mean it that way.”
He further clarified that Marko’s comments were not taken personally. Perez stated that if the comments were seen from a different viewpoint, they would be interpreted differently. He reiterated, “But to me, it’s just how things are, and I didn’t take them personally.”
He emphasized the distinction between their personal conversations and media statements, assuring his good rapport with Marko. He expressed, “Whatever I say to the media, or he says to the media, is different to the conversations we have. So anyway, we have a good relationship and I know that is not related to that side.”
Helmut’s remorse and personal apology were what mattered most to Perez. Perez took a compassionate stand, acknowledging, “Like I say, Helmut I did apologise, I think we all make mistakes. And what to me was the most important [thing] is that I take his apology, his personal apology.”
Perez elucidated on their connection, the media’s influence beyond their control, and the necessity of focusing on their relationship. His interactions with Marko, their regular exchanges on and off track were also brought up. He affirmed, “He will tell you what he thinks. I think something that we can appreciate from Helmut is that he is very transparent, to the media and to the world in general, and also to the drivers. So it’s just how he is.”