Piquet facing Formula 1 track ban for Hamilton racist slur

Three-time world champion Nelson Piquet faces a potential ban from all Formula One races if he fails to apologise to Lewis Hamilton over his racist outburst.

As a title-winner, Piquet is allowed access throughout the season, but his privileges are now under threat after he twice used the derogatory Portuguese word ‘neguinho’ while discussing Hamilton.

F1, the sport’s governing body, declined to speculate on specific sanctions, but one senior source close to racing said: “The view very strongly is that if he doesn’t publicly apologise and speak to Lewis directly, you won’t be seeing him on the paddock again.”

F1, motorsport governing body the FIA and Mercedes have rallied behind Hamilton amid an escalating furore just days before the British Grand Prix. The seven-time world champion had earlier described racist attitudes he had faced throughout his time in the sport, adding that the “archaic mindset” of Piquet has “no place in our sport”.

Piquet, 69, who won the world title in 1981, 1983 and 1987, used the offensive language in a podcast while referring to Hamilton’s tussles with Max Verstappen.

He had been asked about Hamilton managing to claim victory at Silverstone despite tangling with Verstappen on the opening lap, leaving the Dutchman eventually crashing into the barriers and being taken to hospital. In footage shared by Brazilian publication Estadao, Piquet said: “The neguinho put the car in the wrong way and didn’t let [the other driver swerve].”

Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton.Credit:Getty

Piquet added: “The neguinho put the car in the wrong way on the corner, it’s because you don’t know the curve. It’s a very high curve, there is no way to pass two cars and there’s no way you can put the car aside. He did [Verstappen] dirty.”

Hamilton issued a damning response on Twitter, posting a message in Portuguese that translated to: “Let’s focus on changing the mindset.” He then added: “It’s more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport. Time has come for action.”

This weekend’s race at Silverstone is the anniversary of the first of a series of clashes between Hamilton and Verstappen. Piquet, the father of Verstappen’s partner Kelly Piquet, has a history of unsavoury outbursts. During his driving career, he questioned Ayrton Senna’s sexuality.

An F1 statement said of Piquet’s comments about Hamilton: “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. ” Hamilton’s team, Mercedes, said: “Lewis has spearheaded our sport’s efforts to combat racism, and he is a true champion of diversity on and off track.”

Meanwhile, Red Bull reserve driver Juri Vips has been dropped after using racist language during a live gaming stream. The 21-year-old Estonian, who competes in the Formula 2 series, was temporarily stood down from all duties on June 21. Despite Red Bull’s move to cancel his contract, it is understood Vips could yet race in F2 for the Hitech GP team on the undercard at Silverstone.

Telegraph, London

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