By Philip Duncan, PA F1 Correspondent, Silverstone
The British Racing Drivers’ Club have suspended Nelson Piquet’s membership with immediate effect following his racial slur against Lewis Hamilton.
Triple world champion Piquet, 69, apologised to Hamilton on Wednesday, but said the offensive term was mistranslated.
In a statement issued ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, the BRDC, which owns the Northamptonshire circuit, said it anticipated Piquet’s membership will be terminated at a board meeting next month.
A statement read: “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.
— BRDC (@BRDCSilverstone) June 28, 2022
“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 seven-time 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 seven-day notice period.”
It is understood that Piquet will not be welcomed back into the F1 paddock.
Responding to Piquet’s slur, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said: “It is probably what his family and he has been through his entire life.
“Any abuse is wrong so it was great to see the response from the F1 community to express their support on the matter towards Lewis.
“There should not be any room for these kind of comments and we still have a lot to do.
“We have come further than years ago, but it doesn’t help that these things are out there and people are using inappropriate language.
“It is very important to talk about it because it has not gone and it will not be gone overnight. It is a bigger matter, and F1 has to address these issues.
“More than language, is how we behave, and include everyone no matter what colour you are or what type of partner you have, and what sexual orientation you are.
“Any community is welcome and we should always respond in that way and make it clear we are open to anyone.”