The FIA and F1 have been showing support for Lewis Hamilton following racist comments coming from former racing star Nelson Piquet. So has Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team. Piquet used a racist term to refer to the British driver during a podcast on a Brazilian radio channel last November.
“The n**** put his car there to hit him on purpose. He wanted to take him out no matter the cost. The n**** left the car there to hit him.” These were Nelson Piquet’s exact words after Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s clash at the British Grand Prix last year.
The podcast was broadcast again as part of a preview for the upcoming race at Silverstone, set to take place this upcoming weekend. Hamilton slammed Piquet for the term he used.
“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,” he wrote on social media.
Formula One and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team are backing him up.
“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.”
“The FIA strongly condemns any racist or discriminatory language and behavior […] We express our solidarity with Lewis Hamilton and fully support his commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion,” an FIA press release shows.
Furthermore, Lewis Hamilton’s team decided to make a move on Pride Month. A rainbow-colored star shows up on the racing cars. “Everyone needs to be respected and appreciated for who they are,” Toto Wolff says in a video.
Nelson Piquet apologizes to Lewis Hamilton
Nelson Piquet came out to defend himself against the racism allegations. “What I said was ill-thought and I make no defense for it. But I will clarify that the term 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,” the former pro driver explained.
“I apologize wholeheartedly to anyone that was affected, including Lewis,” Piquet continues. He also refers to the British driver as an “incredible” one and blames it on translation in social media.