Earlier this week, Nelson Piquet was fined nearly $1 million (five million reais) in moral damages for his racist and homophobic comments directed at Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.
“In a judgment issued by the 20th Civil Court of Brasilia, the Substitute Judge sentenced former Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet Souto Maior to pay R$ 5 million as collective moral damages for the offences committed against current Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, resulting in the establishment of a fund for the promotion of racial equality and against discrimination against LGBTQIA+ communities.”
During a television interview in November 2021, Piquet used a racial and homophobic slur to describe seven-time champion Hamilton. During the Silverstone Grand Prix, Hamilton and Verstappen collided at high speed.
Piquet later apologized for his remarks, a point reinforced by the court’s statement. The clip became viral and drew adverse reactions to Piquet.
“During his defence, Piquet argued that he had already recanted how he treated the English driver. However, his conduct did not indicate racism or homophobia, so hate speech or offences against the black population or LGBTQIA+ community generally did not need to be mentioned.
In the statement, Piquet’s actions are emphasized as affecting the victim’s rights and the entire community’s values. This is especially true for the black population and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Formula One, Mercedes, and the FIA condemned Piquet at the time. In an apology, Piquet stated that his comments were not intended to be racist.