F1 Release Statement After Piquet’s Racist Comments About Hamilton – WTF1
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F1 Release Statement After Piquet’s Racist Comments About Hamilton

F1 and Mercedes have released a statement in support of Lewis Hamilton after an old interview surfaced of three-time F1 Champion Nelson Piquet using a racist term about the Mercedes driver.

The clip, which was from a 2021 interview with the Motorsports Talk channel, has been reshared recently on social media.

During the interview, Piquet is asked about the incident at the 2021 British Grand Prix, in which Hamilton has a collision with Max Verstappen and refers to the seven-time champion as a “neguinho”.

F1 have now addressed this offensive language in a statement, saying that “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 have also shown their support for the star, calling him “a true champion of diversity on and off-track”.

22 thoughts on “F1 Release Statement After Piquet’s Racist Comments About Hamilton

  • Zanzaroni GR says:

    It’s sad that a 3 time champion of the sport speaks of Lewis this way. Obviously he is on Max’s side, but respect should still exist.

    On the other hand, publicly condemning a comment like this serves nothing, no one in their right mind would agree with that term, let alone need to be told by anyone that it is something they condemn, it’s crystal clear it’s terribly wrong, end of. Similar to that post about Naomi Schiff, who would dare agree with that comment? There are (obviously) tons of racist comments directed to anyone online, but especially people like Hamilton, like Naomi promptly ignore them. Piquet could just be another commenter in this occasion, that comment stains his legacy more than F1’s history.

    • Jason Malcolm says:

      I think the reason the statements have been released condemning it is former world champions are heavily used as advertisements and ambassadors of the sport. To have a 3 time world champion speak about your most successful driver and one of the goats of the sport in such horrific terms is terrible for the image of F1 especially in more recent times with there ‘we race as one’ slogan etc.
      If he has said this in an interview I’d hate to think what he has said off camera. Hopefully he is never welcomed to another race again.

      • Do you even know what he said? The word is not even a slur, contrary to what the race baiting English media would have you believe

        • Zanzaroni GR says:

          I honestly do not know about the word, some people say what you said and others add that the context it was used was racist, I honestly do not know what to believe, but the sport has seen major exposure lately and Hamilton has been a big part of it, they can’t in any logical way be against it, post or not.

        • Jason Malcolm says:

          Admittedly horrific is an exaggeration. You can’t deny when he used every other persons name and then uses it to speak of Hamilton it’s suspicious at the very least.
          Just so happens to use a term that translates to reference a colour for the only black person on the grid. Whether it’s a slur or not in Brazil day to day it’s being used as one in this instance by context
          For everyone saying it’s just “dude” it’s just not.
          If he had used it when speaking about other drivers also you’d have an argument but he didn’t he knew exactly what he was doing.

          • I can deny it because thats also false. He called another driver in that same interview “o outro” (“the other”). Also, the word in question has no racial connotation. The word is indeed just “dude”. The supposed translation Ive seen of “little black man” would be a semi accurate translation for “negrito”, not “neguinho” which is the word he used.

          • Jason Malcolm says:

            Interesting, thanks for informing me of the mis translation that has been going around. Always interesting to have these things clarified. I have seen Brazilians stating it to mean what has been reported though so a little confusing to read about.
            From reading opinions from other Brazilians on other forums it seems there is a divide in opinion on specific meaning but seems clear that the term at the very least has it’s origins in racial slurs.
            I’d say to call someone the other but then use a different term for Lewis again creates the narrative of he specifically wants to use that term for Lewis. Why didn’t he say it for the “other” guy if it does just mean “dude” or just call Lewis “the other” instead of using that phrase. If it is applicable to every “dude” there would be no conscious effort to not use it for multiple people. We speak in trends so for him to use one term for a different white person but use this term for Lewis shows his trend and certainly implies a racial connotation behind it.
            These are the secondary reasons it’s causing uproar. It’s a term he didn’t have to use but he still chose to.
            It’s not like Piquet hasn’t been controversial in the past so it would hardly be a surprise.

          • Context is relevant. Piquet is one of the most prominent if not THE most prominent Bolsonaro supporter there is, Bolsonaro not being a popular figure to say the least. As such youll see plenty of people that will make up anything to make Piquet and consequently Bolsonaro look bad/evern worse.

            As for the rest of your comment Im honestly not following. Without now doing an investigative thesis you can probably say that back in the day probably the word derived from “negrito” or “negro”, which translates to “black” (not the English word “negro”). Calling someone black is racial but not a slur, is it? I dont see any basis at all to say its a slur and have not seen anyone make a decent argument for that so I really dont know how that can seem clear to you.

            Going a bit past that, if you watch the whole thing understanding it in its Portuguese original it just seems that he sometimes forgets names, as older people sometimes tend to do. There doesnt seem to be anything to it more than that. Having said that, Portuguese speakers who know at all who Piquet is have known for at least a couple decades now, one could probably compile a hour’s worth of video with clips of Piquet being racist making this thing all the more depressing. Its really unnecessary to come up with crazy mistranslations for a word and say its “common usage”, in the process defaming an entire culture. To then try to argue its not just the word but the fact he calls everyone else by name, committing the same mistake of not actually properly verifying that is just clumsy from the English language media who seemingly deems it acceptable to put stuff out based on their usage of auto translators

          • Jason Malcolm says:

            I’m a little confused by your comments now. You have been defending Piquet in these comments but now have stated for over 10 years there is footage of him being racist. So he is a racist which then means he likely is using that word in a racist slur rather than how the average Brazilian associates it?
            Black is an accepted descriptive term and accepted as the ‘correct’ description but in the same turn a racist person can still turn it into a racial slur so as you say Piquet is a racist then he is more than likely consciously using that term for a reason.

            You’ve clarified and I’m grateful that the term is not associated as a slur now. What I’ve read from Brazilians discussing it has been them stating it was historically used racially as a put down for young black people. But as you say it becomes far to much of a deep dive to really go into the histories of it for a WTF1 comments section. I appreciate what information you have given me though. I like to come away from discussions with more information than when the discussion started and you have been very informative.

          • Just a last clatification since English speakers seem to get hung up in this, defending a specific statement doesnt mean to defend who said it as a person. Triggering backlash in Portuguese language media all over the world, except for the subset who started this thing for political motives in Brazil, is not how you strive for equality. This kind of cultural imperialism where you defame an entire culture and language based on a false understanding of something is a problem that way overshadows whether an old guy known to be racist is indeed racist or not and, as such, it deserves to be addressed. Not saying you had ill intent but the English language media who picked up on this in the way it did was at the very least reckless

          • Jason Malcolm says:

            I don’t believe anyone has intentionally defamed an entire culture or language. I certainly don’t have that view. I agree there has clearly been a lack of understanding of non Portuguese speakers which is naive of us all that aren’t but the criticism has always been about Piquet as far as i’ve been concerned. I’m glad to be corrected on the general use of the terminology but I still agree with everything that has come Piquets way in the aftermath.

          • Youre missing the fact this isnt an isolated incident but part of a pattern. We came to call it English cultural imperialism for a reason, it isnt new terminology for this case. When the English language media come up with all kinds of crazy mistranslations for a word, some going as far as saying its an equivalent for the n word while adding that despite that its “common usage”, that is indeed defaming an entire culture and thats how the Portuguese language media took it since, again, its part of a longstanding pattern.

            When the same English language media starts seeing they got it wrong and instead of issuing corrections/retractions it starts coming up with other arguments to try to make it stick and with that cover up what happened, then thats the common pattern one would associate with cultural imperialism. Continuing to focus on Piquet instead of the fundamental flaw in media reporting that became apparent is missing the forest for the trees. If it wasnt intentional and English media just doesnt even consider they should fix their mess, that makes it even worse, not better.

            Ill also note that at Silverstone you had Tom Cruise and Lewis Hamilton seemingly getting along very well and, somehow, that wasnt worthy of condemnation by the same English language media. Funny how that works

          • Jason Malcolm says:

            I agree the English language media are always spinning a line. But this has been reported in multiple non English 1st language countries on the same narrative so to tar only the English speaking media isn’t fair not that I’m excusing them of spinning an exaggerated tail.
            I think possibly being from the UK I’m used to the media exaggerating things so you know there will be exaggerations. Admittedly I initially bought this story as fact hook, line and sinker because the first article i read stated use of the ‘n-word’.

            To your point about them adjusting without apologising this is nothing new at all. The media will never apologise for anything because they are only reporting information they’ve been given no matter what they write.
            I don’t agree with this at all but it has been long standing and trying to get them too will never happen as a regular thing. This applies to mis translations, mis reporting, wrongful accusations or even libellous name calling but they still don’t apologise because they were only reporting on the information given.

            Was the Tom Cruise really a talking point after everything that happened on race day. I think everyone was just glad that everyone walked away from the race in one piece. I’m quite sure there are plenty people at grand prix weekends with heavier controversy. Look at Bernie defending Putin etc. There are levels to these things a relevance to the situation is a factor.

            I don’t think Tom Cruise being at a Grand Prix should be the reason the media start reports on his controversy either. That could be started any day of the week. He is also there as a spectator. He is not someone linked in with F1 speaking about another F1 driver.

            I’m not saying there’s no controversy there but I would say the two situations are not comparable for the most part

            Piquet has now been exposed again as you mentioned it’s everything he has said over the years that has truly buried him. An incident in isolation can be clarified but he clearly is a racist and homophobic so it’s another reason this story gained even more traction. For the majority the terminology has been clarified since and whilst he himself has not been excused of his actions. People I have spoke with have said they are aware of the true translation rather than say the google ‘literal’ translation that was reported now.

      • Zanzaroni GR says:

        I do not care about the words of ex F1 champions, Villeneuve especially has some questionable (at best) opinions. They are part of F1’s history and that’s it. All they can really proactively do is to ban Piquet from the paddock as some speculate, not having him giving interviews will make no difference with the exception of people who idolize him. Max Mosley was a proven fascist and is still hailed for his no nonsense approach as FIA president. All this is turning into just drama, even though there are real issues, not related to F1 behind it.

        • Jason Malcolm says:

          I agree what they say shouldn’t matter. But that doesn’t mean what they say isn’t subject to criticism. 5 years time this will be a nothing and Piquet will probably be allowed in the Paddock again tbh. I feel like F1 is reactive to these things and when Lewis retires it’s going to fall by the way side again

    • Jason Malcolm says:

      I think the reason the statements have been released condemning it is former world champions are heavily used as advertisements and ambassadors of the sport. To have a 3 time world champion speak about your most successful driver and one of the goats of the sport in such horrific terms is terrible for the image of F1 especially in more recent times with there ‘we race as one’ slogan etc.
      If he has said this in an interview I’d hate to think what he has said off camera. Hopefully he is never welcomed to another race again.

  • ฬ๏ยtєг says:

    I think what Piquet said was absolutely disgusting, especially as it was used in a derogatory manner (as opposed to Vips who didn’t use it in that manner at all). What does concern me though is why this is all of a sudden blown up when the interview was from November last year. Maybe I’m starting to get affected by all the conspiracy idiots in the world (is it contagious?), but it does seem a little supicious that this has come up in the week of the British GP and many people online are now also attacking Max and Red Bull over this.

    That makes me feel like the people doing that don’t really care about racism at all, but are just using it as a means to destabilize Red Bull or Max (good luck with that), which I find reprehensible as well.

    • Theres a big difference inthat the word Piquet used is not a slur at all, while the one Vips used is…

      • ฬ๏ยtєг says:

        I admit I cannot completely judge that as I don’t speak Portuguese, nor do I know Brazilian culture all that well. But I’ve read explanations of all the different uses of it by Brazilian people as well and from the context of what was said, it was definitely not used as a term of endearment. I do think it has been blown out of proportion on social media, but that seems to be the way things are these days where open mindedness and tolerance are dished out with torches and pitchforks.

        Anyway, yes, the n-word Vips used is more of a slur, though from the tone of the conversation it was much more in the harmless sense the way it is used in rap music for instance and not directed at anyone nor intended as a racist remark. I therefore applaud HitechGP for not firing him and giving him a chance to learn from this without losing his entire career.

        • Im sorry but youretrying to establish an equivalence where there is none, the word would simply translate to “dude”. It has no racial connotation. The issue is that Piquet refered to everyone else by their name and then referred to Hamilton effectively as “the dude”, as if he was saying “THE (black) dude”.

          • ฬ๏ยtєг says:

            True, but as I understand it, there are other words for dude or guy in Portuguese as well, so using the one that, etymologically at least, has its roots in the word black is at least a bit clumsy then. Especially in a sentence where he’s criticizing Hamilton and even referring to him as “the dude” is kinda belittling (similar to when Hamilton once referred to Verstappen as “that guy” in an interview… it’s not really respectful anyway)

            But like I said as well, I do agree with you that it’s been blown completely out of proportion, but that’s how it seems to be these days with the mob mentality on social media.

          • Well, different languages are different languages because they are indeed different and rarely so you have perfect trasnlations for a word in another language. The most literal translation for “dude”, “gajo”, is considered mildly offensive in most situations for instance. Now imagine if every time a famous English speaker said “dude”, Portuguese language media went bananas over it

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