Written by Hugh Waring, Edited by Alessandra Erazo
The Brazilian who won in 1981, ‘83 and ‘87 has been reported to have been indefinitely banned from entering the F1 paddock, following the emergence of a video released at the end of 2021, in which Piquet was heard to have used a racial slur against seven-time champion, Lewis Hamilton. Although these reports are not confirmed, it is expected that the FIA and F1 will be ‘banning Piquet for life’ after reports of F1 team bosses are “considering further action against Piquet”.
The Brazilian used a racial slur in response to the controversial collision between Hamilton and Verstappen at last year's British Grand Prix.
The three-time world champion released a statement:
"What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has widely and historically been used in Brazilian Portuguese for a synonym for 'guy' or 'person' and was never intended to offend. I would never use the word I have been accused of in some translations."
"I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of his skin colour. I apologise wholeheartedly to anyone that was affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some media that is now circulating on social media is not correct. Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts in that respect."
Following the video release, many drivers and teams have come to support Hamilton and reconfirm F1’s commitment to fighting for further diversity across motorsport.
Some drivers took to social media to give their thoughts:
Mercedes driver, George Russell stated:
“He has done more for the sport than any driver in history, not just on the track but off it. The fact that he and so many others are STILL having to deal with this behaviour is unacceptable. We all need to stand together against discrimination of any kind.”
Esteban Ocon on Twitter:
“All racists or discriminatory language has absolutely no part in our sport and our society. Enough is enough. I’ve worked and spent time with Lewis over the years and know the kind of person he is. Always genuine and respectful with everyone around him. He has done so much for F1, on and off the track, and we are proud to have him at the forefront of our fight for further diversity and including in motorsport. I stand with Lewis and his continued efforts to make the sport we love a better place for all.”
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc also made a statement:
"Knowing Lewis since I arrived in Formula 1, he has always been extremely respectful to me and everyone that he meets. Those values should be the standard towards anybody around the world. The comments made towards Lewis should not be tolerated, and we should continue to push for a more diverse and inclusive sport. We need to remove discriminatory behaviour and racist language in any form from not just our sport, but our society as well."
Hamilton also took to his social media following these reports commenting: “It’s more than language. These are 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.”
This is not the first time Piquet has been on hollow ground. The Brazilian has made many controversial comments regarding fellow Brazilian, Ayrton Senna. As well as insulting Nigel Mansell’s wife, commenting on her ‘ugly’ appearance.