Components One officers have condemned former world champion Nelson Piquet after he used a racial slur towards present driver Lewis Hamilton.
Piquet had referenced the color of Hamilton’s pores and skin with a discriminatory time period whereas talking on a podcast in November. A video of the interview emerged on-line on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the Brazilian issued a press release during which he apologised “wholeheartedly to everybody who was affected, together with Lewis.”
However he additionally mentioned he needed to “make clear” media stories and mentioned he “would by no means use the phrase I’ve been accused of in some translations”.
“I strongly condemn any suggestion that I used the phrase with the intention to demean a driver due to his pores and skin color,” Piquet added.
Hamilton — a seven-time F1 champion — had mentioned on Twitter that the phrases have been “greater than language”.
“These archaic mindsets want to alter and don’t have any place in our sport,” he wrote.
“I have been surrounded by these attitudes and focused my complete life. There was loads of time to study. Time has come for motion.”
Hamilton additionally tweeted in Portuguese, “Vamos focar em mudar a mentalidade” (“Let’s concentrate on altering the mindset”).
His feedback on Twitter got here after each F1 and the Fédération Internationale de l’Car (FIA) had condemned “racist language”.
“Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any type and has no half in society,” F1 mentioned in a assertion.
“Lewis is an unimaginable ambassador for our sport and deserves respect. His tireless efforts to extend variety and inclusion are a lesson to many and one thing we’re dedicated to at F1.”
Motorsport’s governing physique additionally expressed “solidarity” with Hamilton on Twitter, including that it “absolutely helps his dedication to equality, variety and inclusion in motorsport.”
Hamilton — the one Black driver in F1 — has campaigned towards racism in motorsport and has been outspoken on human rights abuses.
Hamilton and most drivers took a knee earlier than races in 2020 and 2021 as an anti-racism gesture.
The racially abusive feedback by Piquet had been made on the ‘Enerto’ podcast on YouTube.
The previous three-time Brazilian world champion had been referring to a crash between Hamilton and Max Verstappen throughout final yr’s British Grand Prix. The collision resulted in Verstappen retiring from the race, whereas Hamilton went on to safe victory.
Talking to Enerto, Piquet had labelled the incident a “joke” and mentioned Hamilton had been “fortunate” solely Verstappen crashed.
The Dutch driver — who controversially triumphed over Hamilton to win the 2021 F1 World Championship — is presently relationship Piquet’s daughter, Kelly. Piquet was additionally recognized for controversial remarks throughout his racing profession.
Hamilton’s Mercedes staff, often known as the Silver Arrows, switched from silver to an all-black automotive in 2020 to assist Hamilton’s efforts to fight racism.
“We condemn within the strongest phrases any use of racist or discriminatory language of any form,” Mercedes mentioned on Twitter.
“Lewis has spearheaded our sport’s efforts to fight racism, and he’s a real champion of variety on and off observe. Collectively, we share a imaginative and prescient for a various and inclusive motorsport, and this incident underlines the basic significance of continuous to try for a brighter future.”
Two years in the past, Hamilton had criticised former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone for making “ignorant and uneducated” feedback about racial injustice.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate and fellow British driver George Russell additionally mentioned on Twitter that he has “enormous respect” for his compatriot.
“[Hamilton] has finished extra for the game than any driver in historical past, not simply on [the] observe however off it,” mentioned Russell.
“The truth that he and so many others are nonetheless having to cope with this behaviour is unacceptable. All of us want to face collectively towards discrimination of any form.”