Nelson Piquet apologises for offensive term aimed at Lewis Hamilton
Piquet has apologised “wholeheartedly” for using an offensive expression during an interview about Hamilton in 2021.
Former Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet was reported to have used a racial slur towards Lewis Hamilton following the 2021 British Grand Prix, but the 69-year-old insists the word he used had been mistranslated.
Piquet said in a statement: “I would like to clear up the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year.
“What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to offend.
“I would never use the word I have been accused of in some translations. I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of his skin colour.
“I apologise wholeheartedly to anyone that was affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some media that is now circulating on social media is not correct. Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts in that respect.”
Hamilton speaks out
Hamilton has said “the time has come for action” after the video emerged with Piquet speaking about the British driver.
Formula One and Hamilton’s Mercedes team had already condemned Piquet on Tuesday morning but Hamilton reacted with anger via Twitter, stating: “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.”
F1, which has a clear anti-racist platform under the We Race As One banner, swiftly condemned Piquet. Its statement read: “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. His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1.”