Lewis Hamilton has said “archaic mentalities must change” and have no place in Formula 1 after three-time world champion Nelson Piquet used racially abusive language about him.
The 69-year-old Brazilian, who won the world title in 1981, 1983 and 1987, used a racially offensive term to refer to Hamilton in a podcast.
Piquet has been condemned by Formula 1, Hamilton’s Mercedes team and the FIA.
“It’s more than a language,” said seven-time world champion Hamilton.
“These archaic mindsets need to change and they have no place in our sport. I have been surrounded by these attitudes and focus all my life.”
“There has been a lot of time to learn. The time has come to act.”
Piquet was discussing the crash between Hamilton and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen on the first lap of last year’s British Grand Prix.
He described the incident as “a joke”, said Hamilton had been “lucky” only that Verstappen crashed and used a swear word in expressing his opinion that Hamilton had made a mistake.
This weekend’s British Grand Prix marks the first anniversary of the incident, which was one of a series between the two drivers as they contested last year’s world title, a championship decided in controversial circumstances at the 2021 final in Abu Dhabi.
An F1 statement said: “Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and is not part of society.
“Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and he deserves respect.”
He added: “His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to in F1.”
Piquet, who is the father of Verstappen’s partner, Kelly Piquet, has a history of making unsavory and unsavory statements. During his driving career, he publicly questioned Ayrton Senna’s sexuality and called his rival “the Sao Paulo taxi driver.”
He also made offensive comments about Nigel Mansell and the Briton’s wife when they were teammates at Williams.
“We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind,” Mercedes said. “Lewis has spearheaded our sport’s efforts to combat racism and he is a true champion of diversity on and off the track.
“Together, we share a vision for a diverse and inclusive motorsport, and this incident underscores the critical importance of continuing to fight for a brighter future.”
The FIA, motorsport’s governing body, said: “The FIA strongly condemns any racist or discriminatory language and behaviour, which has no place in sport or in society at large.
“We express our solidarity with Lewis Hamilton and fully support his commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in motorsport.”