After racial slurs aimed at Lewis Hamilton in a podcast recorded last year, Nelson Piquet has been summoned to the Brazilian Federal Court. The podcast was found by the public last month, and now it’s looking as though the former F1 driver will be looking at a severe fine.
Four human rights groups have brought a combined case against him, demanding legal action for causing moral damage to black and LGBTQ+ people. This comes after more words from the Brazilian surfaced showcasing homophobia, too. If this comes to fruition, Piquet will be fined up to 10 million Brazilian reels, equal to £1.56m.
Hamilton commented on the language at the time, only weeks after being awarded an honorary citizenship of Brazil:
“It’s more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport. I’ve been surrounded by these attitudes and targeted my whole life. There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action.”
Piquet will have 15 days to plead his case to Judge Felipe Costa da Fonseca Gomes of the Distrito Federal court after already commenting on the interview.
He “wholeheartedly” apologised for his language:
“What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it,” Piquet said in a recent statement.
“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.”