Helmut Marko has been accused of discrimination after alleging that Sergio Perez’s head is ‘not as focused’ as the likes of Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel due to the fact that he is ‘South American’.
Red Bull’s chief advisor was actually content with Checo’s most recent performance with the Guadalajara-born driver battling back from an underwhelming P5 qualifying finish to beat both Ferraris on the road to the second step of the podium.
Perez finished the Italian Grand Prix just six seconds behind team-mate Verstappen despite his lowly qualifying finish, but the Mexican still couldn’t stop the Dutch sensation from making F1 history and securing his tenth successive race win.
Speaking about Perez’s display after the race, Marko told ServusTV: “The Italian GP was surely one of Checo Perez’s best weekends and we know about his problems in qualifying, which is where he has his doubts.
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“Let’s remember that he is South American and so his head is not as focused as Max Verstappen or as Sebastian Vettel was, but racing is his forte and he had a very good race.
“Overtaking three drivers, in George Russell and the Ferrari drivers, was not easy, as we knew they were faster on the straights. In the race, Perez did everything right and now we have circuits like Singapore, where he has already won and which suit him better.”
Not only were the Austrian’s comments unacceptable and archaic, they were factually incorrect. As a man of Mexican heritage, Checo is from the North American continent, meaning Marko has stereotyped the wrong continent in his criticism.
Marko has been a regular critic of Checo since he joined the Red Bull team and has often made harsh and negative references to his mentality and commitment. The most recent of these criticisms also came from the Italian GP.
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In another interview with ServusTV, Marko said: “Perez is not consistent; he is not always focused. Perez has a contract until 2024, and Norris has a contract until 2025. Unfortunately, it’s that long.
“He [Norris] is definitely a candidate for us. At Toro Rosso, we had already reached an agreement with him at the time until his manager realised there was an option for a McLaren contract.
“In terms of youth and speed, he would suit us very well. Sergio, on the other hand, is already over 30 and is expecting his fourth child. So he also has other interests, so you have to see what happens next.”
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