Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen has spoken out against banning the ex-champion Nelson Piquet from Formula One and the BRDC (British Racing Drivers Club) after Nelson Piquet’s latest racist gaffe.
“A ban doesn’t help anyone, you have to talk, that’s really important. You shouldn’t be banned from the paddock, especially a three-time world champion,” the Red Bull driver said at Silverstone on Thursday.
Verstappen is involved with Piquet’s daughter Kelly, who have been a couple for some time.
“I have spent quite a bit of time with Nelson. He’s not a racist, he’s a nice and relaxed guy,” the 24-year-old said.
Shortly before Sunday’s British Grand Prix, statements made by Piquet, 69 who’d been interviewed in 2021, had emerged in which he had slated Lewis Hamilton. The Brazilian has since denied a racist intent to his words. Formula 1, the world federation FIA and a number of drivers and teams jumped to Hamilton’s side.
Verstappen also stressed that Piquet’s choice of words had been “not correct” and that “Everyone is against racism. That’s a lesson not to use such words,” the Dutchman said. Hamilton has his respect like any other driver, he said. He also supported the initiatives of Formula One and Fia against discrimination. But it was not up to him to talk to Piquet about it. Piquet knows himself that his behaviour was wrong.