Christian Horner says a statement on Helmut Marko’s recent comments about Sergio Perez has not been released by Red Bull’s Formula 1 team because he is an employee of the wider company.

Marko came in for criticism earlier in the week after attributing Perez’s fluctuating form over the course of the 2023 Formula 1 statement to his ethnicity.

“Let’s remember that he is South American, and so he is not as focused as Max Verstappen or Sebastian Vettel was,” he expressed to Austrian network ServusTV.

The Austrian proceeded to apologise publicly via a statement for the “offensive remark”, while Perez confirmed on Thursday in Singapore Marko approached him in a private meeting to discuss the matter.

“Those comments were not right, and [Marko] immediately apologized to Sergio directly,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

“He [Checo] is a very popular member of our team, and I pushed hard to sign him in 2021.”

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, however, condemned Marko’s comments, brandishing them as “unacceptable” and asserting that more action needs to be taken.

Last year, Red Bull terminated the contract of Juri Vips, formerly a member of its Junior Team, for the use of a racial slur.

Amid question marks over why the Red Bull F1 team had not released a statement on this occasion, Horner pointed out that Marko is contracted to the wider Red Bull Group rather than the racing side of the company.

“He is not part of Red Bull Racing, that is why, we did not put out a statement, however, he is part of the bigger Red Bull Company Group, for which they have put out a comment,” he explained.

“There is a code of conduct, ethics and sporting code, and we have communicated with FOM and the FIA over the past few days, and it’s now for them to touch on.”

Looking ahead to the weekend’s action, both Perez and Max Verstappen have previously claimed they expect the Marina Bay Circuit to present Red Bull’s toughest test of the year.

The Austrian outfit has won all 14 races to be held this year, but Horner anticipates a close battle with the chasing pack.

“This track is going to be one of the toughest tracks for us, in terms of characteristics,” he added.

“So, we need to be on top of our game. Ferrari are quick and Mercedes look quick as well. So it is going to be tight.”

Meanwhile, Red Bull is yet to comply with the regulation that outlines each team must hand two practice sessions to a rookie driver, defined as a competitor with two or less F1 grands prix starts to their name.

When asked about the candidates Red Bull could place in the RB19 later in the year, Horner responded: We’ve got Jake Dennis, who is the Formula E champion, and we have Isack Hadjar.”

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