In a statement sent to the media on Wednesday, former F1 world champion Nelson Piquet apologised for the remarks he made about Lewis Hamilton. A response that is somewhat shocking considering the language reportedly used by the Brazillian in a now infamous podcast.
The Brazilian was accused of making racist remarks in an interview in 2021 when he referred to Lewis Hamilton on a Brazilian podcast while discussing the accident between Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and his rival Lewis Hamilton at last year’s British Grand Prix. F1, the FIA and the Mercedes team strongly condemned the comments, while Lewis pointed to a “bad translation” of his words.
“I would like to explain the stories that are circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year,” said Nelson Piquet.
“What I said was ill thought out, and I am not trying to defend it but I wish to clarify the term I used which is widely and historically used in Brazilian Portuguese jargon as a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘dude’ and I never intended to offend”
“I would never use the term I am accused of using in some translations. I condemn any suggestion that I would have used the word to denigrate a rider because of their skin colour.
“I apologise from the bottom of my heart to anyone who may have been affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some of the media now circulating on social media is not correct.”
“Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my comments in this regard.”
FIA condemn Nelson Piquet
Formula One and Mercedes have condemned racist language used by former world champion Nelson Piquet towards Lewis Hamilton. A video has surfaced in Brazil of the 3 times F1 world champion commentating on the Verstappen/Hamilton crash at Silverstone 2021.
The term Piquet used can be translated “little black child” and is the diminutive form of “negro”.
In the interview with a Brazilian F1 reporter Piquet described the move Hamilton made as “dirty” and was clearly critical of his driving and ‘taking Hamilton out’.
The FIA have responded quickly since TJ13 broke the story earlier today. A statement reads:
“Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and has no part in society. Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect,” it read.
“His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1.”
Hamilton’s team Mercedes have also responded:
“We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind,” their statement read.
“Lewis has spearheaded our sport’s efforts to combat racism, and he is a true champion of diversity on and off track.
“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.”
Nelson is the father of Max Verstappen’s girlfriend and Lewis Hamilton fans on social media have called for Red Bull to distance themselves from the Brazilian.
Further additional calls were made for the FIA to name Piquet particularly in their statement.
Hamilton’s strong response to Piquet
Hamilton calls Nelson Piquet “archaic” after racial slur. Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton has responded to the news today that Nelson Piquet called him “a little black boy”. A video has emerged of Piquet recording a podcast in November 2021 where he slated Hamilton for his move on Verstappen at the 2021 British GP. The Brazilian used the word “neguinho” which is the diminutive form of “negro”. Today, Lewis Hamilton responds strongly to the story.
Nelson Piquet further criticised Hamilton for making a “dirty” move on Verstappen and stated he was “lucky Max wasn’t seriously injured. Lewis was penalised for the incident by the race stewards with a time penalty but went on to win the race.
This weekend Christian Horner is hoping for “justice” after what Red Bull believed was a deliberate attempt by Hamilton to take Max Verstappen out.
Following news of Piquet’s racial slur, one Hamilton fan posted on Twitter:
What if Lewis Hamilton just tweeted ‘Who the fuck is Nelson Piquet?’ then closed twitter
— Harry (@formularaducanu) June 28, 2022
Hamilton replied, “indeed”, then added in Portugese, “vamos focar em mudar a mentalidade,” which translates “let’s focus on changing the mindset.”
It’s more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport. I’ve been surrounded by these attitudes and targeted my whole life. There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) June 28, 2022
The FIA, F1 and the Mercedes team have condemned the Brazilian 3 times WDC with F1 tweeting,
“Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect. His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1.”
However, social media commentators have called on Red Bull to do so too.
Max Verstappen is dating Nelson Piquet’s daughter and Nelson has on occasion been a guest in the Red Bull garage.
Piquet has form for upsetting others. During an intense battle with Nigel Mansell his team mate for a WDC piquet remarked to reporters, “Mansell is argumentative, he’s rude and he’s got a really ugly wife. He’s arrogant, and after he started winning races he started treating everyone really badly. Besides which, he’s written off piles of cars. No one wanted him to win.”
Nelson Piquet has refused to comment despite being approached by CNN.
Piquet drama: Verstappen & Red Bull reaction
One year after the Silverstone Grand Prix accident with Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton has been the subject of recent news involving racist comments by Nelson Piquet, the former three time champion Formula One driver and soon to be father-in-law of the reigning world champion Max Verstappen. While support for the British driver is growing in the media, RedBull has also officially terminated the contract of Juri Vips following the use of a racist term in another incident last week.
It has been a bad time in Formula 1. Just a few days before the Silverstone Grand Prix, the scene of an epic battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen last year, there is a racial scandal in the news. A year after the race and the dramatic crash between the two championship leaders, Hamilton ran afoul of a statement made by Nelson Piquet, former F1 driver and Max Verstappen’s soon to be father-in-law.
“The little nigga (Lewis Hamilton) put his car in and left it because there was no way he could pass two cars in that corner. He did it like a bastard. He’s lucky, only the other one (Verstappen) was screwed,” he reportedly said READ THE FULL STORY HERE
The Mercedes driver, who is a self confessed lead figure in the fight against racism, wasted no time in reacting with Lewis Hamilton speaking out and his Mercedes team following suit:
“It’s more than a question of language. This archaic mentality has to change and has no place in our sport. I have been surrounded by these attitudes and targets all my life. I’ve had plenty of time to learn. Now is the time to act,” Lewis Hamilton posted on his Twitter account.
For Max Verstappen, the situation is more embarrassing than anything else. The Dutch driver, who is in a relationship with Kelly Piquet, Nelson Piquet’s daughter, is expected to speak to Lewis Hamilton during the Silverstone Grand Prix. Even if the two men are not the best of friends in everyday life, the reigning world champion will inevitably give him his support. While waiting for Verstappen’s reaction, the Red Bull team did not budge. This may be an echo of the new racism case that has hit the Austrian team as reported by this website last week.
Hot on the heels of the Piquet controversy, Red Bull has taken the decision to terminate the contract of Juri Vips, its reserve F1 driver due to the use of a racist term during a live broadcast earlier this month:
“Following its investigation into an online incident involving Juri Vips, Oracle Red Bull Racing has terminated Juri’s contract as a test and reserve driver.
The team does not tolerate any form of racism,” Red Bull explained in an official statement published on its social networks.
MORE F1: Was Nelson Piquet’s language really racist?
Formula One has seen a huge row develop today over historic footage uncovered where Nelson Piquet apparently used a racial slur against Lewis Hamilton. F1, the FIA, Mercedes and others have all come out against the Brazilian 3 times world champion for his use of the Portuguese word “neguinho” to describe Lewis Hamilton.
In previously uncovered footage Nelson Piquet has been revealed analysing the collision between Hamilton and Verstappen at the 2021 British GP. He was scathing of Hamilton’s driving suggesting it was….. READ MORE ON THIS STORY