Nelson Piquet has apologised to Lewis Hamilton but has insisted the term he used was not intended as a racist slight against the Briton.
Piquet used a derogatory phrase in his native Brazilian Portuguese during a podcast last year, with his remarks having gained traction in recent days.
Formula 1, the FIA and Hamilton’s Mercedes team swiftly backed the seven-time world champion, who went on to outline that “archaic mindsets” need to be altered.
In a statement issued on Wednesday three-time champion Piquet outlined that he “would like to clear up the stories circulating in the media about a comment I made in an interview last year.
“What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence 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 colour.
“I apologise wholeheartedly to anyone that was affected, including Lewis, who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some media that is now circulating on social media is not correct.
“Discrimination has no place in F1 or society and I am happy to clarify my thoughts in that respect.”