Older voices shouldn't be given a platform, says Top Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton, after a year-old recording emerged of three-time champ Nelson Piquet referring to Hamilton in racial terms.
Piquet, who is Brazilian, made comments on a podcast a year ago discussing the collision between Hamilton and Max Verstappen during the 2021 British Grand Prix, in which he used the word “neguinho” to describe Hamilton. According to Urban Dictionary, the word is is Brazilian slang for “n***a”. One entry explains that in Brazil the term is used with either black and white people and explains it is “not an offensive word in Brazil, but sometimes can be.” Other interpretations translate the word as meaning "little Black guy."
Hamilton had this to say: “I don't know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform because they're speaking upon our sport and we're looking to go somewhere completely different. And it's not representative, I think, of who we are as a sport now and where we're planning to go. These old voices are, you know, whether subconsciously or consciously, do not agree that people like me, for example, should be in a sport like this, do not agree women should be here.”
In other words, Lewis Hamilton wants to deplatform people because of an immutable human characteristic (age).
In a tweet, the F1 driver said, “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 responded to the comments he made on the podcast and said, "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."
According to reports, Hamilton is encouraging the Formula One board to focus on “widening the diversity and inclusivity” by funding more projects with Mercedes to “promote more female and black participation into auto racing.”