Formula 1 has condemned three-time world champion Nelson Piquet for using racially abusive language about Lewis Hamilton.
The 69-year-old Brazilian, who won the world title in 1981, 83 and 87, used a racially offensive term in referring to Hamilton on a Brazilian podcast.
An F1 statement said: “Discriminatory or racist language is unacceptable in any form and has no part in society.
“Lewis is an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect.”
It added: “His tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to at F1.”
Piquet was discussing the accident 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 Verstappen crashed, and used a swear word in expressing his opinion that Hamilton had made a mistake.
This weekend’s British Grand Prix is the first anniversary of the incident, which was one of a series between the two drivers as they disputed last year’s world title – a championship decided in controversial circumstances at the 2021 finale in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton’s team Mercedes said: “We condemn in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind. Lewis has spearheaded our sport’s efforts to combat racism, and he is a true champion of diversity on and off track.
“Together, we share a vision for a diverse and inclusive motorsport, and this incident underlines the fundamental importance of continuing to strive for a brighter future.”
Piquet, who is the father of Verstappen’s partner Kelly Piquet, has a history of making unsavoury and unpleasant 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 team-mates at Williams.