The British Racing Drivers’ Club has suspended Nelson Piquet Snr’s membership and will move to terminate it entirely, following the Brazilian’s racist comments directed at black driver Lewis Hamilton.
The three-time Formula 1 world champion used a Brazilian word to describe seven-time champion Hamilton in a podcast episode in which he was discussing last year’s British Grand Prix, which saw Hamilton and Max Verstappen – who is dating Piquet’s daughter – crash on the opening lap.
Teams, drivers, F1, the FIA and Hamilton himself have criticised Piquet’s language, prompting the 69-year-old to issue an apology, although he insisted the word he used isn’t considered racist in Brazil.
The BRDC, which made Piquet an Honorary Member, has suspended his membership and will move to terminate it once a seven-day notice period has been served.
“The BRDC Board of Directors has noted that, in a Brazilian podcast last November, Nelson Piquet Senior, an Honorary Member of the BRDC, described Lewis Hamilton using a racially offensive expression in Portuguese. The apology issued yesterday by Mr Piquet Sr has also been noted,” read a BRDC statement.
“In view of the BRDC’s zero-tolerance policy towards any act involving or suggesting racism, the BRDC Board has concluded that Mr Piquet Sr’s use of racially offensive language to describe a fellow BRDC member (and 7-times World Champion) is unacceptable and represents conduct that is wholly inappropriate for an Honorary Member of the BRDC, notwithstanding his subsequent apology.
“Accordingly, we have advised Mr Piquet Sr that his membership has been suspended with immediate effect. Following the Club’s due process, it is anticipated that the Board will terminate Mr Piquet Sr’s membership at a board meeting to be held after the required 7-day notice period.”