On Monday night, a public interview featuring three-time world champion Nelson Piquet caused a stir against racism in the Formula One fraternity. Piquet used a racist term in a recently released interview conducted last year, leading to widespread criticism. Piquet gave the interview in November to Motorsport Talk’s Ricardo Oliviera in the Portuguese language.
The former Brazilian driver spoke about Lewis Hamilton’s contact with Max Verstappen during the British Grand Prix 2021. The 180mph clash resulted in the Dutchman being knocked out after suffering a major impact with the barriers. The video was aired on several Brazilian media outlets, including CNN. The news channels reported that Piquet used an epithet for Hamilton, which could be translated similar to the N-word.
Following the video’s release, Hamilton and Formula One were quick to criticize the racist comments from the former Brazilian racing driver. The seven-time world champ expressed his anger via a Twitter post. Lewis pointed out it was more than just language. He told that such archaic mindsets needed to change and had no place in F1. The Mercedes driver shared that he is surrounded and targeted by such attitudes all his life. The 37-year-old added, “There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action.”
Formula One & Mercedes Condemns Racist Comments Against Hamilton
Formula One is recognized as an anti-racist platform and represents the “We Race as One” motto. The racing body was quick to criticize Piquet and issued an official statement. F1 stated that any form of discriminatory or racist language was unacceptable and had no part in society. The racing body mentioned that Lewis is a legendary ambassador for motorsport and deserved respect. Formula 1 concluded, “His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusiom are a lesson to many and something we are commited to at F1.”
Moreover, F1 has restricted Piquet from attending the races until he makes a public and personal apology to Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes racing team also has a serious reaction to the racist comments towards Lewis. The Silver Arrows stated that they condemn any use of racist or discriminatory language in the strongest terms. Mercedes mentioned that Lewis has been a spearhead in F1’s efforts to combat racism. They insisted that Hamilton is a true champion on and off the track. The German racing team shared, “Together, we share a vision for a diverse and inclusive motorsport. And this incident underlines the fundamental importance of continuing to strive for a brighter future.”
The FIA also condemned any use of racism or discriminatory language in F1 and wider society. The F1 governing body expressed its solidarity with Lewis Hamilton. It claimed to fully support the Briton’s commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion in motorsport. Meanwhile, Nelson Piquet has been a center of controversy several times. His lousy use of words and offensive comments against several stars has led him to trouble in the past.
The Brazilian racer defamed and accused Ayrton Senna of being gay during his driving days. He also referred to Nigel Mansell’s wife as ugly. In addition, Nelson Piquet is yet to apologize for his comments toward Lewis Hamilton.