Christian Horner explains lack of Red Bull F1 team statement on Helmut Marko comments

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Christian Horner has clarified why Red Bull's F1 team did not issue its own statement about Helmut Marko's offensive comments about Sergio Perez after the Italian Grand Prix.

In an interview with Servus TV, Marko, Red Bull's motorsport consultant, said Perez's ethnicity was to blame for his fluctuations on form this year, saying "he is South American and he is just not as completely focused in his head as Max [Verstappen] is or as Sebastian [Vettel]".

Perez is actually from Mexico, which is part of continental North America.

The comments have been widely criticised, with seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton saying they were "completely unacceptable", adding that he was not surprised Marko would say something like that.

Marko issued an apology on Red Bull-owned TV channel Servus after backlash on social media, and in private to Perez, but Red Bull's F1 team was criticised in some quarters for not saying anything publicly about it.

In a press conference ahead of Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix, F1 team boss Horner said: "Well firstly, those comments, they weren't right.

"I think Helmut quickly recognised that and apologised for that both publicly and spoke directly to Sergio about it.

"I think you're always learning in life, even at 80 years of age, and I think inevitably lessons have been learned.

"Checo is a massively popular member of our team, is an important member of our team. I pushed very hard to sign him back in for the 2021 season.

"We have a huge following around around the world and we take that very, very seriously and very responsibly.

"I think that the fan following, not that just Checo has, but what the team has and, and Formula 1 has, we're very conscious of. This is his 250th race and we want to focus on that."

Horner stressed that Marko is employed by the wider Red Bull company, not by its F1 team.

"From Helmut's perspective, he's apologised. He's not an employee of Red Bull Racing.

"So in terms of why didn't we put out a statement, he's part of the Red Bull wider group, and the group obviously issued that apology through through the Servus TV channel."