Sergio Perez says he has graciously accepted a personal apology from Helmut Marko over an offensive comment made about him by the Red Bull motorsport boss.
After the Italian Grand Prix, speaking on Red Bull-owned Servus TV, Marko drew a comparaison between Perez and teammate Max Verstappen, contending that the former’s difficulties this season were rooted in the latter’s South American origins.
“We know that he has problems in qualifying,” Marko stated at the time. “He has fluctuations in form, he is South American and he is just not as completely focused in his head as Max is or as Sebastian.”
Marko’s remarks led to a wave of criticism towards the Austrian on social media, and eventually compelled the 80-year-old Red Bull representative to issue an apology.
That atonement was followed by a private conversation with Perez during which Marko expressed his mea culpa directly to the Mexican driver.
“I had a private conversation with him,” Perez said. “He did apologise. And that to me was the main thing.
“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.
“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.”
Knowing Marko’s true character, Perez admitted that he hadn’t been offended by his words, as clumsy or inept as they may have been.
“Not at all, if I’m totally honest,” he said. “Knowing Helmut, like I say, have a personal relationship with him. I know, he doesn’t mean it that way.
“And I didn’t get offended at all personally. Let’s say if those comments were from a different perspective or so on, I would have to take them differently.
“But to me, it’s just how things are, and I didn’t take them personally.”
Perez made clear that his personal relationship with Marko and his interpretation of the Austrian’s comments take precedence over whatever spin the media or social media put on his words.
“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.
“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.
“What happens afterwards, and on the media side or on the public guy, that’s not in my control. To me, the most important is the personal relationship.
“We will always have a chat on track, off-track, here and there. We see each other pretty much every weekend.
“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.”
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