Written by Asmi Mathew, Edited by Ishani Aziz
Nelson Piquet's statement about the incident involving Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone, 2021 has recently resurfaced. In an interview with a Brazilian podcast, Piquet used a racial slur to refer to the seven-time world champion.
Though the interview took place a few months ago, it only gained traction recently. In response to the Brazilian's statement, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team released a statement coming to the champion's defense:
"We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind.
Lewis has spearheaded motorsport’s efforts to combat racism, and he is a true champion of diversity on and off track.
Together, we share a vision for a diverse and inclusive motorsport, and this incident underlines the fundamental importance of continuing to strive for a brighter future."
Several drivers namely Guanyu Zhou, Mick Schumacher, Daniel Ricciardo, George Russell, Esteban Ocon, and Charles Leclerc have released statements in support of Hamilton. Formula E, Extreme E and the McLaren Formula 1 Team have also shown their support for the driver.
This is not the first time Piquet has been surrounded by controversy. He is known to have made rude and unwarranted comments involving racing legends, world champions, and his former colleagues, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, and the late Ayrton Senna.
These instances further prove that serious action must be taken against Nelson Piquet to make sure that situations like these don't arise again. The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) needs to defend its drivers against people with such mentality.
Sir Lewis Hamilton is one of the greatest drivers this sport has ever seen and he has endured racism throughout his entire racing career. Hamilton is also the first and only black driver as yet to have raced in F1. He must be given the respect he rightfully deserves. No one should be treated differently because of their skin colour, especially in a series like Formula 1 which strives for inclusion and diversity.