F1 row escalates as it emerges Nelson Piquet used homophobic slur against Lewis Hamilton | World News

Nelson Piquet used homophobic language against Lewis Hamilton in a podcast interview, it has emerged.

The three-time former F1 world champion used the phrase on a podcast when describing how Hamilton missed out on the 2016 championship to Nico Rosberg.

He said of Hamilton: “The [racist term] must have been [homophobic slur] at the time. He was pretty bad.”

It comes days after Piquet apologized “wholeheartedly” to Hamilton for using a racial slur.

The 69-year-old was said to have used language that’s equivalent or similar to the N-word while discussing a collision between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on a Brazilian podcast in 2021.

Addressing that interview, Piquet had said he “strongly condemned” any suggestion his remarks were intentionally racist – and said he had been mistranslated given the interview was in Portuguese.

The British Racing Drivers’ Club – which owns the Silverstone circuit that hosts the British Grand Prix this weekend – has now suspended Piquet’s honorary membership.

Sky Sports News understands that Piquet will not be allowed back into the paddock after his comments.

SSN’s reporter Craig Slater said: “Piquet has spoken of colloquialisms in Brazilian-Portuguese, which has been a part of controversies we have had related to this in the past involving other high-profile sportsmen.

“He has given an apology, but my understanding is that this has been beyond the pale and that for the foreseeable future he will not be welcome back into the Formula 1 paddock.”

Nelson Piquet pictured at the 2018 Grand Prix of Austria PIC:AP
Nelson Piquet pictured at the 2018 Grand Prix of Austria PIC:AP

After Piquet’s remarks initially came to light, Formula 1’s governing body and Hamilton’s team Mercedes immediately condemned “in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind”.

Hamilton also responded, tweeting: “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.”

Former long-time F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone had defended Piquet – saying he was surprised Hamilton hadn’t “brushed it aside”, and defended Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Without mentioning Piquet or Ecclestone by name, Hamilton said: “I don’t know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform because they’re speaking upon our sport and we’re looking to go somewhere completely different.

“And it’s not representative, I think, of who we are as a sport now and where we’re planning to go.

“These old voices are, you know, whether subconsciously or consciously, don’t agree that people like me, for example, should be in a sport like this, don’t agree women should be here.”

  Red Bull's Max Verstappen with his girlfriend Kelly Piquet
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen with his girlfriend Kelly Piquet

Fellow F1 driver Max Verstappen, who is first in the rankings and in a relationship with Piquet’s daughter, said the man he calls his father-in-law had used a “very, very offensive word” – but added that he doesn’t consider him to be a racist.

Piquet has said that he believes discrimination has no place in F1 or society – and in addressing the language he used, he added: “What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defense for it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as 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 color.”

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