In a video released last year by Brazilian publication Estãdao, that resurfaced online last week, three-time World Champion, Nelson Piquet, described the accident at Silverstone between Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, as "a joke.” He went onto say that Hamilton had been "lucky" only Verstappen crashed, and used a racist slur against his fellow F1 World Champion.
Formula One has issued this statement in response:
“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.”
The governing body of F1 motor racing, the FIA, posted this statement on their website, condemning racism:
“The FIA strongly condemns any racist or discriminatory language and behaviour, which have no place in sport or wider society. We express our solidarity with Lewis Hamilton and fully support his commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in motor sport.”
Piquet is the father of Verstappen’s girlfriend, Kelly Piquet.
Piquet's son, Nelson Piquet Jr. came runner up to Hamilton, in the 2006 GP2 Drivers’ Championship, in a fiercely contended season.
Just two months ago, Piquet’s home country of Brazil, stated they would offer Hamilton a Brazilian Citizenship, rendering the man from Stevenage, ’speechless’. It’s no secret Hamilton’s boyhood hero, is São Paulo native, Ayrton Senna. His love for the country overflowed at the last Brazilian Grand Prix, when he draped the Brazilian flag around his shoulders on the podium, to a standing ovation and adoring chants, from the home crowd.
Vamos focar em mudar a mentalidade— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) June 28, 2022
Attending an event for the 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in London, Hamilton went on to spearhead the campaign in Formula 1, where before every race start, the grid came together to deliver the message that racism would not be tolerated in the sport.
Writing a message on his Twitter account, Hamilton says it's time for action to end racism in life and the sport itself.
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
Formula 1 has discontinued delivering the pre-race message this season. Was it too soon?