(GMM) The FIA has stepped into the affair surrounding Dr Helmut Marko’s “South American” comment about Sergio Perez.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton thinks the 80-year-old Red Bull team advisor should be “fired” for the allegedly discriminatory remark, after Marko suggested Perez’s cultural background explains his struggle against Max Verstappen.
Hamilton’s boss Toto Wolff agrees.
“Shameful,” he said on Sky Deutschland. “You can’t say things like that.
“Some people say he didn’t mean what he said. That he’s a grumpy old man. But the whole point is why would he even think something like that? It can’t be forgiven.”
It is no surprise that the affair has bled into Mercedes’ ongoing spats with Red Bull, but even the FIA appears to agree that action should be taken.
The governing body admits Marko has received “a written warning and was reminded of his responsibilities as a public figure in motorsport in line with the FIA code of ethics”.
Marko, who apologized privately and publicly to Mexican Perez, said before travelling to Singapore that he would not be making further comment.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has now also publicly backed his driver amid the saga.
“Checo is a massively popular member of our team, he’s an important member of our team,” he said in Singapore.
“I pushed very hard to sign him, we have a huge following around the world and we take that very seriously and responsibly.”
Meanwhile, Wolff has conceded that some of his own comments directed at Verstappen’s new ten-race winning streak record now need to be walked back.
He had said the Austrian’s achievement is only interesting to readers of Wikipedia.
“Well, obviously in the circumstances you can think was it the most intelligent thing that I could have said? Maybe not. But it’s always been my mindset.
“It is something I took from Niki (Lauda). You know, Niki gave his trophies away to get a free car wash. You won’t find a lot of memorabilia in my places either because those numbers never mattered for the two of us,” Wolff added.
He said Verstappen deserves admiration for his current dominance of Formula 1.
“I’ve said it often that only the best win world championships and you need to recognize what a great job is being done there,” said Wolff.
“In the end they will take another big trophy and that is something that’s the most valuable – the best person in the best car wins the world championship.”