Nelson Piquet tried in vain to overturn the court’s decision to fine him for making racial remarks with regard to Lewis Hamilton.
Three-time Formula 1 world champion Nelson Piquet apparently failed in his attempt to have his fine overturned for remarks he made against Lewis Hamilton that were homophobic and racially insensitive.
Four human rights organizations, including Brazil’s LGBTQ+ Alliance, filed a lawsuit against the former Formula One driver after it came to light in several interviews that Piquet had referred to seven-time World Champion Hamilton using racial slurs.
The first encounter took place during an interview with Max Verstappen in November 2021 while they were discussing Hamilton’s incident at Silverstone. Verstappen is dating Kelly Piquet, the daughter of Nelson.
Then, in a different interview from 2016, Piquet was overheard disparaging Hamilton in a racist and homophobic manner as they talked about how Hamilton had lost the 2016 championship to Nico Rosberg, who was his Mercedes teammate.
When the remarks were made public, Piquet was quick to apologize and reiterate that he had no intention of using racial slurs towards Hamilton. However, a Brazilian court sought to sanction him 5,000,000 Brazilian Reals (£780,000) in “moral damages” for his remarks.
Additionally, according to Globo, Piquet’s attempt to overturn the judgment was unsuccessful, therefore the fine is still in place.
Piquet already apologized and tried to make it clear that the term he used wasn’t meant to be offensive to anyone of a particular race.
“What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it,” Piquet said. “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.”
Despite his apology, Piquet hasn’t been in the Formula 1 paddock ever since and as news of his remarks spread, his access was indefinitely revoked.