Lewis Hamilton has spoken out after Formula 1, the FIA and Mercedes condemned racially abusive language used by former world champion Nelson Piquet.
Piquet, who is the father of Max Verstappen’s partner, Kelly Piquet, was on a Brazilian podcast last November discussing the collision between Hamilton and Verstappen during the 2021 British GP when he used a racially offensive expression in Portuguese to refer to Hamilton.
The word the 69-year-old used is reported to be an equivalent or similar to the N-word.
The comments have only just come to light and Formula One issued a statement immediately supporting seven-time champion Hamilton before he responded.
Hamilton posted on Twitter: “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.”
The choice of words by Piquet was criticised by Formula 1, who said: “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.”
Hamilton’s team Mercedes also condemned the language, saying: “We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind.
“Lewis has spearheaded our sport’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.”
The FIA, Formula 1’s governing body, also released a statement on social media in support of Hamilton, saying: “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.”