Former Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet became the target of a representation made by the Psol bench in the Chamber of Deputies to the Public Ministry of the Federal District. In the legal piece, the parliamentarians accuse him of practicing the crime of racism, after statements emerged in which the British driver Lewis Hamilton was called a “neguinho” by Piquet.
In an interview given to journalist Ricardo Oliveira in November last year, but which went viral on social media only this week, Nelson Piquet used the term racist several times when referring to Hamilton. On Friday (1st), another excerpt from the interview, this one unpublished, was published by the portal Big prize pointing out that the former pilot repeated the expression along with a homophobic speech on the same occasion.
“Racism structures social relations in Brazil. In this sense, treating black human beings in an evidently pejorative way, as Mr. Nelson Piquet does, is not in line with the practices for implementing the equality device”, affirm the Psol deputies, from according to information by journalist Monica Bergamo.
In the middle of the week, the former pilot issued a statement apologizing and claiming that the word would be used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese, justifying that the expression had been translated incorrectly. “What I said was poorly thought out, and I don’t defend it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has been widely and historically used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘cara’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to to offend.”
During the week, the British press reported that the International Automobile Federation (FIA) had banned the Brazilian from the paddock of all stages, although there was no official statement about it. On Thursday (30), Piquet was suspended from the Club of British Drivers, an entity that brings together names of motorsport and of which he was an honorary member. Hamilton is also part of the club.
“Given the policy of zero tolerance for any act involving or suggesting racism, the British Drivers Club board concluded that Mr Piquet’s use of racially offensive language to describe a fellow Club member (and seven-time champion) is unacceptable and totally inappropriate for an honorary member of the Club, despite his consequent apology,” said the statement from the entity, which also stated that it must formally terminate the Brazilian’s membership at a board meeting to be held within seven days.
Hamilton’s fight against racism
“We need to bring people together, we are all the same. I remain firm and focused on my work and really trying to promote the inclusion of diversity in our organization. We really need everyone”, said this Friday Lewis Hamilton in an interview given in Silverstone, where he will be the British Formula 1 GP will be held this weekend. The Brit’s activism in favor of equality, however, does not come from now.
His performance became more notorious in May 2020, after the murder of George Floyd, when he was present at a demonstration of the movement. Black Lives Matter and began to charge Formula 1 for more notorious actions against racism. He was one of those responsible for his team, Mercedes, to change the silver color of the cars to black in a GP as a form of protest.
In September of that year, he wore on the podium of his 90th victory in the sport, at the Tuscan GP, a T-shirt with the phrase “Arrest the police who killed Breonna Taylor”. Breonna, a 26-year-old black woman, was a paramedic and was murdered in March of that year after police raided her home in Louisville, Kentucky.
Hamilton’s stance not only made the majority of pilots publicly adopt anti-racist speeches, but was also fundamental for the organization to also adopt the pro-diversity initiative. We Race As Onenews in a category that is usually unrelated to this agenda.
The seven-time champion, in reaction to Piquet’s offenses, demanded more action from the sport. On Thursday, the Ignite partnership, which unites Hamilton and Mercedes, announced its first donations as part of its commitment to increasing diversity in the sport. Among the initiatives announced, both committed a contribution of US$ 6.2 million to the fund. Hamilton has also donated £20 million to his Mission44 project, which aims to “support, advocate and empower young people from under-represented groups in the UK”, with the aim of promoting diversity.
Editing: Glauco Faria