Former Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet has come under considerable scrutiny from the motoring world and media, as the three time world champion’s racist comments have come to light.
Piquet referred to Lewis Hamilton using the Portuguese equivalent of the N-word in a Brazilian sport podcast when discussing the collision between Hamilton and Max Verstappen during the 2021 British Grand Prix.
Formula One issued a statement supporting Hamilton before Piquet responded, as the 69-year-old apologised on Wednesday, June 29. Piquet said that his comments were “ill thought out” but denied any racial intent.
On Thursday, June 30 Bernie Ecclestone defended Piquet, adding that he was surprised that Hamilton hadn’t brushed it aside. However, the opinions of the former F1 supremo’s remarks are not being taken very seriously at present, as Ecclestone has also defended Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and described the Russian autocrat as a spendid individual.
Hamilton addressed the situation talking to the press ahead of the 2022 British GP at Silverstone. The seven-time world champion said “I don’t know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform because they’re speaking upon our sport and we’re looking to go somewhere completely different. And it’s not representative, I think, of who we are as a sport now and where we’re planning to go.”
“These old voices, you know, whether subconsciously or consciously, do not agree that people like me, for example, should be in a sport like this,” added Hamilton, before going on to say “why do we give these guys a platform? They’re not with the times, they’re clearly not willing to change.”
Piquet is facing a ban from the F1 paddock as a result of the ensuing outrage. However, Verstappen, whose partner Kelly Piquet is Piquet’s daughter, insists that while the comments are “very offensive”, the Brazilian is “definitely not a racist.”