Lewis Hamilton has said Formula 1 should ignore “old voices” and reject racism as it aims to become more inclusive.
Piquet, the father of Max Verstappen’s partner, Kelly Piquet, was on a Brazilian podcast last November, discussing the clash between Hamilton and Verstappen during the 2021 British GP when he used a racially offensive expression in Portuguese.
The word the 69-year-old used is said to be equivalent or similar to the N-word.
The comments have only just come to light and Formula 1 has issued a statement in support of seven-time champion Hamilton before responding.
Picket apologized on Wednesday and said his comments were “ill-considered” — but denied any racial intent.
Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone defended Piquet earlier today, saying he was surprised Hamilton had not “put it aside”, and defended Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine†
Ahead of Thursday’s British GP, Hamilton faced the media for the first time after Piquet’s comments surfaced.
Without mentioning Piquet or Ecclestone by name, Hamilton said: “I don’t know why we keep giving these older voices a platform, because they speak about our sport and we are looking for a completely different destination. we are now as sport and where we are going.”
“These old voices, you know, subconsciously or consciously disagree that people like me, for example, should play in a sport like this, disagree that women should be here,” he added. to.
Hamilton had already posted on social media that “archaic mindsets need to change” in response to Piquet, 69, and he expanded on Silverstone.
“I’ve been on the receiving end of racism, criticism, negativity, archaic stories and undertones of discrimination for a long time, and there’s nothing really new to me,” said the seven-time F1 champion.
“It’s more about the bigger picture.
“I don’t know why we keep giving these older voices a platform.
“They’re talking about our sport and we want to go to a completely different place. If we want to grow in the US, other countries, South Africa, we have to look to the future and give the younger people a platform.” , which are more representative of today’s time.
“It’s not just about one person. It’s not about one use of that term, it’s the bigger picture.”
In the media briefing, Hamilton said discrimination “is not something we should project and promote, to provide a platform to divide people”.
He added: “We need to bring people together, we are all the same.
“It doesn’t help, the comments we see from some people. I don’t think a day has passed where people who are older – who have been irrelevant to our sport for decades – haven’t said negative things and try to put me down to get.
“But I’m still here, I’m still going strong, I’m focused on my work and really trying to push for diversity and inclusion in our organization.”
Asked if he’d lost respect for those “elder voices,” he said, “I’ve always tried to take the highway, I’ve always tried to be respectful of these individuals.
“But like I said before, why are we giving these guys a platform? They’re not moving with the times, they’re clearly not willing to change.”
He continued: “In these times of discrimination and micro-aggression, in today’s world it just isn’t useful and it creates more divisiveness.
“I love how Michelle Obama says ‘when they go low, go high,’ so I try to keep doing that, I’m inspired by those kinds of people.
“I’m still here, it won’t stop me from doing what I think is right and doing what I love, which is working in this sport.”
Hamilton is encouraging F1 to do more to increase the sport’s diversity and inclusiveness, and is working with his Mercedes team to fund projects to promote more female participation in auto racing and engineering scholarships for black students with a focus on auto racing . They announced the first exchanges today.
Meanwhile, Piquet was today suspended from his honorary membership of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), which owns and manages the Silverstone circuit used for this week’s grand prix.
The BRDC noted that Piquet’s use of “racially offensive language to describe a fellow BRDC member is unacceptable and represents behavior completely inappropriate for an honorary member of the BRDC, despite his subsequent apologies”.
It added that the board was expected to cancel Piquet’s membership at an upcoming meeting.