IF Formula One chiefs are serious about their anti-racism campaign then they MUST take action after Lewis Hamilton received more racial abuse.
F1 launched their #WeRaceAsOne initiative in 2020 aimed at improving diversity and stamping out racism.Lewis Hamilton says ‘the time has come for action’ and slammed the archaic mindset’ of people like Nelson Piquet[/caption] Ex-world champ Nelson Piquet should face tough action from F1 bosses over his slur against Lewis Hamilton[/caption] Max Verstappen faces tough questions ahead of the British GP as he is dating Nelson Piquet’s daughter Kelly
But there are now calls for them to take substantial action against Nelson Piquet after the three-times world champion used a racial slur towards the Brit in an interview.
The flashpoint came after Piquet was interviewed about Verstappen and Hamilton’s clash at the British GP last year, where the Dutchman ended up in hospital for a check up.
Hamilton received racial abuse and even death threats on social media following the accident at Silverstone, for which Piquet says he was at fault.
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The controversial interview was recorded in Portuguese back in November and why the comments have taken so long to come into circulation is neither here nor there.
It is the fact Piquet chose to say the offensive word in the first place which highlights how much work still needs to be done to stop racism.
F1 and Hamilton have not always seen eye to eye with their messaging, as his protests have left them feeling uneasy.
He has called them out on a number of occasions, most recently in Saudi Arabia where he called on F1 “to do more” to highlight the social issues in the country.
He has listened to all the promises for action and support but he now wants to see some form of action from the sport.
This latest controversy with Piquet will prove to be an acid test to see if F1’s “WRAO” initiative is working or nothing more than a colourful hashtag.
Hamilton’s initial campaign to highlight racism started when he supported Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL player who in 2016 took the knee during the American national anthem in protest, but has since escalated.
It has evolved from him taking a knee or wearing protest t-shirts before races – incidents which have not sat especially well with the F1 hierarchy.
In September 2020 at the Tuscan GP, he wore a t-shirt saying ‘Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor’ – sparking panic at F1 and their governing body, the FIA, given the organisation is supposed to remain politically neutral.
Taylor, 26, was shot dead when officers stormed her apartment in Kentucky on a search warrant for drugs in March 2020.
Hamilton has also not been afraid to use his voice and speak out on not only racism but also inclusivity and LGBT rights.Lewis Hamilton is worried racism issues are not being properly tackled[/caption] Colin Kaepernick taking the knee was supported by Lewis Hamilton[/caption]
Sometimes when it was not especially comfortable for him to do so, given the political situation in certain countries, again causing a considerable headache for F1.
But his actions have resulted in positive trends across the paddock as other teams have started to focus on improving their own diversity.
Within his own Mercedes team there have been notable changes to their business as a consequence of his actions.
Between 2021 and 2025, Mercedes’s F1 team have a programme that requires 25 percent of new starters to be from under-represented backgrounds.
Last year, that figure was actually 38 percent and the team doubled its members from minority ethnic backgrounds.Nelson Piquet has been accused of having an ‘archaic mindset’[/caption]
He’s also put his money in too and started his own foundation following a commission into why there were so few minorities working in F1.
The upshot is that he has put in Â£20million into the “Mission 44” project which will train teachers from under-represented backgrounds in the subjects of science, technology, maths and engineering, in the hope that encourages more children to go into motorsport.
Mercedes and Hamilton too formed a joint charitable partnership to build a more diverse UK motorsport sector with the first grants due to be paid very soon.
He is making a difference and when he eventually stops competing, unlike Piquet, he will have more legacy than simply world titles.
He will have changed the motorsport landscape for good but for the time being, the sport has more to do – and that is now in the hands of F1 and what they do with Piquet to send the right message loud and clear.
For as his comments prove, there is still a long way to go before racism in F1 sees the chequered flag.
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