Nelson Piquet could face £1.5m court fine over racist abuse at Lewis Hamilton

Nelson Piquet could face a £1.5million fine after a judge in Brazil ordered he should be investigated after the former Formula 1 champion's racist and homophobic comments about Lewis Hamilton.

The ex-F1 star made the remarks when talking about the British driver on a podcast in November. The 69-year-old was even barred from the British Grand Prix earlier this month, while the Mirror report a human rights group have pressed charges against Piquet, saying the Brazilian did "moral damage to black and LGBTQ+ people".

Piquet did apologise for the language he used and will now have to defend his case to Brazilian judge Felipe Costa da Fonseca Gomes of the Distrito Federal court, where he could be ordered to pay out some £1.5m in damages.

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Formula One condemned the words as "unacceptable in any form and has no part in society", while Hamilton said to British GP: "I have been on the receiving end on racism and that negative and archaic narratives and undertones of discrimination. I am not sure why we are continuing to give these older people a platform.

"They are speaking on the sport but we are looking to go in a different direction. It's the bigger picture. It is now a knee-jerk reaction from companies all around the world.

"They probably all already have a script ready for that crisis management. It is not enough. It's now about action. We need more than ever to be bringing people together. It is not helpful the comments we are seeing from these people. People who are not relevant in the sport for years are trying to bring me down but I am still here."

Piquet's daughter Kelly, who is thought to be dating Hamilton's rival and last season's F1 winner Max Verstappen, apologised for her father's words.

Piquet also apologised for the use of the foul language. He said: "What I said was ill thought out, and I make no defence for it, 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."


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