Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has explained why his team didn’t release a statement in response to Nelson Piquet’s racist comments directed at Lewis Hamilton.
An old interview featuring former F1 driver Piquet resurfaced this week, in which he refers to Hamilton in a racist manner.
The Formula 1 paddock and wider motorsport community showed their support for the seven-time World Champion, with many releasing statements of solidarity.
However, Red Bull didn’t directly comment on the issue, but asserted that “the team do not condone any form of racism” in a message that announced its separation from Juri Vips, who used a racial slur while live-streaming recently.
Horner says that Red Bull used action, rather than words, to condemn racism by dropping Vips from its driver academy.
“We’re appalled by Nelson’s comments,” Horner told Sky F1. “It’s from an interview from quite a long time ago.
“We obviously had an incident with one of our young drivers at the end of last week and we took very definitive action where he’d made a racist comment and so we took action and we removed him from the team.
“We put out a statement about Juri and then this one came out and we felt that we’d made a very strong statement through action of actually dropping Juri from the team for not condoning any form of racism or discrimination.”
“Of course we’re behind Lewis, we’re fully signed up to the Hamilton Commission.
“Actions sometimes talk louder than words and the action we took with Juri, was obviously draconian, but in line with the policy that we have.”
In the build-up to the British Grand Prix weekend, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen condemned the words of Piquet, who is the father of his partner, Kelly, but asserted that Nelson is not a racist person.
Verstappen was booed by British fans at the track on Thursday, which may have also been carry-over from his 2021 rivalry with Hamilton, but Horner has assured that Verstappen is fully supportive of Hamilton.
“Max is absolutely clear, he stated it in the press conference yesterday, that he’s fully supportive of Lewis,” Horner said.
“Not just Lewis, but to any form of racism or discrimination in the sport. Red Bull is a young team, a very inclusive team.
“We have a very young following, a very diverse following and that’s very important to us. Of course Lewis is going to have huge support here.
“Next weekend is another home race for us and I’m sure the team is going to have huge support with another 30,000 Dutch fans there. That’s sport isn’t it? That’s competition.”