PARIS ( Associated Press) – Formula One great Lewis Hamilton says an “archaic mentality” needs to change after retired champion Nelson Piquet allegedly used racial slurs against him.
Hamilton’s comments came after F1 and the FIA condemned the racist language.
“It’s so much more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our game. I’ve been surrounded by these attitudes and targets my whole life,” Hamilton tweeted on Tuesday. “It’s been too long to learn. It’s time to take action.”
The only black driver in F1, Hamilton is a seven-time world champion.
He also wrote in Portuguese, “Vamos Fokker m Mudra a Mentallidade” (Let’s focus on the mindset change), and responded to another tweet, which used a slur about the 69-year-old Brazilian Piquet, who had killed three F1 Won titles.
Piquet was discussing an accident between Hamilton and Max Verstappen during last year’s British Grand Prix when Piquet referred to Hamilton’s skin color with a discriminatory term on a YouTube podcast called Enerto in November.
“Discriminatory or racist language in any form is unacceptable and has no part in society. Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect,” F1 said in a statement. “His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and we remain committed to F1.”
Hamilton has campaigned tirelessly to fight racism and has been outspoken on human rights abuses in the countries where F1 races.
Motorsport governing body FIA also defended Hamilton.
“The FIA strongly condemns any racist or discriminatory language and behavior that has no place in sport or the wider society,” the FIA said. “We express our solidarity with @LewisHamilton and fully support his commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in motor sport.”
Hamilton’s Mercedes team – known as the Silver Arrows – switched from Silver to an all-black car in 2020 to support Hamilton’s efforts to tackle racism. Hamilton and most of the drivers took a knee before races in 2020 and 2021 as an anti-racism gesture. Hamilton also established the Hamilton Commission to improve the diversity of F1.
“We strongly condemn any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind. Lewis has led our sporting efforts to combat racism, and he is a true champion of diversity on and off track. “Together, we share a vision for a diverse and inclusive motorsport, and this event underscores the fundamental importance of continuing to strive for a brighter future.”
Two years ago, Hamilton criticized “ignorant and uneducated” comments by former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. Hamilton was surprised by Ecclestone’s claim during an interview with broadcaster Nation World News that “in many cases, black people are more racist than white people”.
Piquet won F1 three times in 1980 and 23 races. His daughter Kelly Pickett is Verstappen’s girlfriend.
The British GP is this weekend.
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