Three Brazilian MPs have accused Nelson Piquet of committing a racial crime, asking a court to question him over his N-slur against Lewis Hamilton ahead of today’s British Grand Prix.
Politicians say they want the former F1 world champion charged over his controversial comments.
Aurea Carolina, Taliria Petrone and Vivi Reis, deputies of the left-wing Socialism and Freedom Party, filed a formal complaint with prosecutors in the capital Brasilia.
Petrone, a former teacher who spent her political career representing Rio de Janeiro, said: “Racism, which structures our society, must be fought everywhere.”
The MPs added in their complaint: “Treating black human beings in a clearly pejorative manner, as Mr Nelson Piquet does, runs counter to equality enforcement practices.
Specialist lawyer Renan Gandolfi told local press that Piquet could now face a criminal investigation for using racial slurs and a prison sentence of up to three years plus a fine if he did. he is found guilty.
Brasilia prosecutors have yet to comment and it was not immediately clear on Sunday whether the complaint would be dealt with and whether a legal investigation leading to possible charges would be launched.
Brazilian lawmakers have accused Nelson Piquet of committing a racial crime against Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton is pictured arriving at Silverstone on Sunday ahead of the British Grand Prix
Supporters try to get a selfie with Hamilton who was the center of attention ahead of his home race at Silverstone following comments from Piquet
Piquet was banned from Silverstone earlier this week after he used a racist expression in Portuguese to describe Hamilton during an interview in his homeland.
The retired three-time world champion apologized and insisted the word he used was mistranslated, before it emerged he had called it the N-word again.
F1 figures including 2009 world champion Jenson Button and respected commentator Martin Brundle have expressed disgust at the language used by Piquet.
Apologizing for using the pejorative Portuguese expression “neguinho” while referring to seven-time world champion Hamilton in a podcast interview last year, Piquet said: “What I said was poorly thought out, and I’m not defending it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that was widely and historically used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for “guy” or “person” and was never intended to cause offense.
Piquet was accused of calling Hamilton a ‘neguinho’ during a podcast interview
“I would never use the word I was accused of in some translations. I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word has been used by me to demean a driver because of their skin color.
“I apologize wholeheartedly to everyone affected, including Lewis who is an incredible driver, but the translation in some media now circulating on social media is not correct. Discrimination has no place in F1 or in society and I am happy to clarify my thinking in this regard.
Hamilton has received plenty of support on social media from his Mercedes team, F1, the FIA and even rivals Ferrari and Charles Leclerc.
Mercedes rivals Red Bull also denounced Piquet’s comments through team boss Christian Horner, whose comments came after Red Bull released F2 driver Juri Vips this week following a controversial comments.
“First of all, of course, we were appalled by Nelson’s comments,” the Red Bull boss said. sky sports. “This is from an interview a while ago and obviously we had an incident with one of our young drivers at the end of last week.
Christian Horner has defended Red Bull’s reaction to the racial slurs used by Nelson Piquet
“We took very final action when he made a racist comment and immediately removed him from the squad.
“So we had released a statement about Juri and then that came out and we felt that we had made a very strong statement by actually excluding Juri from the team and not tolerating any form of racism or discrimination in any way.
“Of course we are fully behind Lewis, fully on the Hamilton Commission and sometimes actions speak louder than words. The action we took with Juri was draconian but consistent with the policy we have.
The row saw Hamilton’s fierce rival Max Verstappen indirectly drawn into the mix with the world champion dating Piquet’s daughter Kelly, who spilled petrol on the flaming hell of a story by liking followed by a social media post defending her father’s comments.
Piquet’s daughter Kelly, pictured after the Abi Dhabi GP last year, is dating Max Verstappen
Verstappen, however, denied that the three-time Formula 1 champion is a racist.
“I spent some time with Nelson and he’s definitely not a racist,” Verstappen said. “He’s actually a really nice, relaxed guy. That word can be interpreted two ways and people pick up on the bad side and of course it gets really over the top.
“People call him a racist, which I don’t think he is. It is better to open a conversation than to ban people. You are not helping the situation by doing this. It doesn’t help what you’re trying to enforce, it’s better to argue. I don’t think he should be banned from the paddock, especially since he is a three-time world champion.
Verstappen’s comments came before he was booed after qualifying on Saturday after taking second place on the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Although the Dutchman is unlikely to have received a warm welcome in Hamilton’s home race anyway, given their bitter championship feud which saw Verstappen claim his first F1 crown last season. round of a highly controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year.
In a bizarre interview on Good Morning Britain, former Formula 1 owner Bernie Ecclestone claimed Hamilton should accept Piquet’s apology.
Verstappen wasn’t the only person to come to Piquet’s defense with the former F1 supremo and former Brazilian team boss during their time at Brabaham in the early 1980s, with Bernie Ecclestone saying Hamilton should accept the apology of Picket.
In a bizarre interview on Good Morning Britain, the 91-year-old told Hamilton he should ‘dismiss’ Piquet’s racial slur and ‘just’ his apology.
Hamilton responded during the toxic build-up to Sunday’s race, insisting it was time older voices were ignored in the sport.
The seven-time world champion said: “I don’t know why we keep giving these older voices a platform.”
Lewis Hamilton, pictured left, arriving at Silverstone on Friday ahead of today’s British Grand Prix and right at a press conference, wondered why ‘older voices’ are given a plat- form amid ongoing racism storm in Formula 1
“They speak for our sport, but we are looking to go somewhere else and they are not representative of who we are now and where we plan to go.”
“If we’re looking to grow our audience in the US and South Africa, we need to give young people a platform. They’re more representative of today’s times and what we’re trying to be. It’s not just about an individual, or the use of that term, but about the bigger picture.
Hamilton will be hoping to give his fans something to cheer for in Sunday’s race, starting from fifth as he looks to repeat his top three finish to earn a podium spot as he did last time out at the Canada.
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