December 31, 2020 | News | No Comments
Helmut Marko has explained the timing of the puzzling photo of Sergio Perez which was taken in Abu Dhabi several days before the Mexican was announced as Red Bull’s 2021 driver.
In the group shot published on the Friday after the Abu Dhabi GP on Horner’s Instagram account, a beaming Perez is surrounded by Marko and the Red Bull Racing team boss.
However, some astute internet peeps noticed that the background of the picture featured curtains from the Yas Marina track hotel.
But the forensic work didn’t stop there, with followers also remarking that Perez was wearing the same clothes that he was wearing when he conducted a helmet exchange with Sebastian Vettel on the Sunday evening after race!
The inevitable conclusion was that the group shot with Marko and Horner had most likely also been taken in Abu Dhabi on the Sunday evening, leading to speculation that Red Bull had actually sealed its deal with Perez well before its announcement on the Friday after the final event of the season.
But then why did Horner continue to entertain the doubt for several days, insisting the team was in the process of “analyzing the data” before making its final call on whether to keep Alex Albon or hire Perez?
Marko offered an explanation, denying a deal was signed and sealed with its new driver at the time the picture was taken.
“A photo has nothing to do with signing a contract,” Marko told Motorsport.com.
“It was a social meeting and at that time, nothing was one hundred percent definite. We took the photo in case it became definite. Signatures can be done electronically these days.”
Read also: Red Bull could ‘loan out’ Albon in 2021 – Marko
Marko said he couldn’t remember whether the picture had been taken on Sunday evening or Monday morning. But Perez’s clothes likely provide the answer to that question, unless the Mexican is in the habit of wearing the attire two days in a row.
“I honestly don’t remember exactly, it was a turbulent weekend,” claimed an unconvincing Marko. “And the opportunity was there because, after all, we weren’t allowed out of the hotel because of the COVID-19 regulations.”
Marko admitted there were enough clues in the picture to allow the internet bloodhounds to trace the shot.
“Perez was wearing the same shirt as when Vettel handed over his helmet,” he smiled. “That gave us away rather than the curtains.”
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