[Hamilton: Lack of F1 and Red Bull action on “unacceptable” Marko racism “interesting”
Marko, a motorsport advisor for Red Bull, caused a stir after the Italian Grand Prix when he blamed Sergio Perez’s fluctuating form on his ethnicity.
He told Red Bull’s own Servus TV channel: “We know that he has problems in qualifying, he has fluctuations in form. He is South American and he is just not as completely focused in his head as Max (Verstappen) is or as Sebastian (Vettel).”
As well as Mexico being in North America, Marko’s comments were criticised by many as being blatant racial stereotyping – which prompted him to issue an official apology.
But Hamilton, who has done much to campaign for less discrimination in F1, thinks that saying sorry is not enough and felt it “interesting” that no action has been taken against Marko when Red Bull has done so over others after similar incidents.
Asked by Sky if we surprised there had been no statement from senior figures within F1, Hamilton said: “I think this is not something that you just apologise [for] and it is all okay. I think there needs to be more done.
“I think teams, when they’ve had individuals, particularly drivers, make comments but [also] some individuals in the back room, they usually are removed or at least they put out a quote and say they don’t support that sort of thing.
“So it is interesting they haven’t done so for this one.
“But that’s not my team. That’s not how we move as a team. And I think it just shows how important is that we continue to do the work, the work that I’m trying to do with my team, and with the sport.
“We still have a lot of work to do moving forwards to make sure that this is a more inclusive environment.”
Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, arrives on the grid
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Hamilton is referencing what happened to former Red Bull reserve driver Juri Vips in 2022, who was sacked by the team in the wake of a racist slur he made on a social media channel.
Teams have also been decisive in dismissing personnel when racist behaviour has emerged.
Back in 2019, Hamilton’s own Mercedes team sacked four staff members over racist bullying, while Red Bull also dismissed an employee last year after racist WhatsApp messages appeared on social media.
Hamilton said that Marko’s comments were damaging for F1’s own crusade to be more inclusive and drive out discrimination.
“I mean, it’s completely unacceptable what he said,” he said.
“And while we say there is no room for any type of discrimination within the sport, which there should be no room for, to have leaders and people in his position, making comments like this is not good for us moving forwards.
“So I think it just highlights firstly, the work that still needs to be done. There are a lot of people in the background that really are trying to combat these sorts of things.
“But it’s hard to manoeuvre when you have people that are at the top. If there are people in the top that have those sorts of mindsets, that can just stop us from progressing.”