After the negative repercussion caused by a racist speech directed at Lewis Hamilton, former F1 driver Nelson Piquet issued a note in which he apologizes to the seven-time champion, but relativizes the term “neguinho”, which he adopted to mention the Briton. Doctor in Law and author of the book “Racismo Recreativo”, Adilson Moreira detailed the problems of expression and justification of the three-time champion of the category.
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– Terms like “neguinho”, “criolo”, “negão” are used in a variety of situations. But they express stereotypes, negative representations about black people. They reproduce the idea that blacks are not competent social actors, they are morally degraded people. That was exactly the sense used by Nelson Piquet when he made reference to Lewis Hamilton-explains.
Nelson Piquet used a racist term to talk about Lewis Hamilton in an interview — Photo: Marcelo Casal Jr/Agência Brasil
When commenting on the Mercedes driver’s crash with Max Verstappen – boyfriend of the three-time champion’s daughter Kelly – at the 2021 British GP, Piquet twice cited the discriminatory expression. Formula 1 and Formula E, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and Hamilton’s team issued notes condemning the case.
– The “neguinho” put the car and left. Senna didn’t do that. Senna didn’t do that. He was, like, “here I rip it out anyway”. The “nigger” left the car. It’s because you don’t know the curve; It’s a very high curve, there’s no way to pass two cars and there’s no way to pass on the side. He played dirty – said the former pilot in an interview.
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Rivals Ferrari, McLaren, Alpine and Aston Martin, as well as fellow seven-time champion George Russell and drivers Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon also took positions.
“What I said was poorly thought out, and I don’t defend it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has been widely and historically used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘cara’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to I wholeheartedly apologize to everyone affected, including Lewis who is an amazing driver, but the translation in some media 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 this regard,” Piquet said in a statement.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen crashed on the second lap of the British GP – Photo: AP Photo/Jon Super
Moreira explains racism as a mechanism that segregates black people on the margins of society, and reinforces that language is one of the tools used to morally disqualify a people. Hamilton is the only black man on the current F1 grid and the only one with victories and titles in the history of the category who already had, in 2016 and 2017, the German Pascal Wehrlein – today in Formula E.
– We have a white man who refers to a colleague by profession in a derogatory way, who many people consider to be the greatest Formula 1 driver of all time. And this pilot is not white, he is black. This has a negative connotation because it is a white man trying to morally disqualify a black person, a mechanism through which white people try to assert moral superiority through a derogatory term – continues the Doctor of Laws.
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Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton protests the death of Breonna Taylor at the Tuscan GP in Mugello – Photo: Dan Istitene/Formula 1 via Getty Images
Newly named honorary citizen of Brazil, the seven-time Mercedes champion reposted a fan who asked, ironically, “who is Nelson Piquet?”. Afterwards, he asked for mentality changes in Portuguese and ended the posts demanding effective actions against discrimination in sport.
– When you reproduce negative stereotypes about women, blacks, homosexuals, Northeastern people, poor people, you are legitimizing discriminatory practices against these individuals. We need, as a society, to teach respect from childhood. We need to teach very basic concepts so that, in this way, people can be raised within a democratic culture – recommends Moreira.
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The very episode at Silverstone last year made Hamilton the target of racial attacks on the internet, widely repudiated by F1, FIA, Mercedes and Verstappen’s RBR team.
The seven-time champion has been a prominent voice in the fight against racism within F1, founding the Mission 44 institution and promoting initiatives that aim to increase diversity in the sport.
F1 British GP info and schedule — Photo: Infoesporte