Formula One has strongly condemned the discriminatory comments made by former Brazilian world champion Nelson Piquet towards Lewis Hamilton. The British called a niguinyo, which can be translated as the descending term “blacky”. Pique has since apologized.
Pique, whose daughter Kelly has an affair with world champion Max Verstappen, used a racial slur in a podcast when he expressed his views on the collision between Hamilton and Verstappen at last year’s Great Britain Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The podcast was actually taped last November, but Pique’s comments came out only last week. For Formula 1, the insults were grounds for issuing a statement. “Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any way and has no place in society. Lewis is a wonderful ambassador for our sport and deserves respect.”
Mercedes, seven-time world champion Hamilton, came with similar conviction. “We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind. Lewis has been at the forefront of the fight against racism in our sport and is a true champion of diversity on and off the track.”
Hamilton also made himself heard via a number of tweets after comments by Piqué, who won the world title in Motorsports First Class in 1981, 1983 and 1987. “It’s more than a language. These old mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport. I have been surrounded by these situations all my life and have been targeted many times. Now is the time to act.”
In an earlier tweet, Hamilton responded to a comment from a fan that said: “What if Lewis Hamilton tweeted, ‘Who is Nelson Piquet? After that, Twitter will be closed. Hamilton replied, “Imagine…”
Pique has since apologized. “What I said was reckless and I am not defending it. But the term used was and still is widely used in colloquial speech in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for “guy” or “person”. The translation now mentioned in the media is not correct. There is no place for discrimination in Formula 1 Or in society and I am happy to express my opinion on it. It was not my intention to offend anyone. I will not use the word he has now accused me of in some translations. I strongly condemn the suggestion that the word be used with the intent of belittling the driver because of the color of his skin.”
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