A racist derailment by three-time world champion Nelson Piquet towards superstar Lewis Hamilton causes a stir in Formula 1. In a statement on Tuesday, the racing series therefore condemned discriminatory language as “unacceptable in any form”. Hamilton was “an incredible ambassador for our sport and deserves respect,” it said. Previously, older statements by the Brazilian Piquet (69) had appeared, in which he had denigrated Hamilton in a video interview with a derogatory swear word because of his skin color.

The Brit then tweeted: “These are outdated views that need to change and have no place in our sport.” Hamilton wrote that such attitudes have surrounded him all his life and have become a target: “It was enough time to learn. Now is the time to act.”

The background to Piquet’s derogatory statements was the accident between the Mercedes driver and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen at the Silverstone race a year ago. According to Piquet, a mistake by Hamilton was the reason. The previously leading Verstappen was eliminated, Hamilton won the Grand Prix despite a time penalty. Piquet is the father of Verstappen’s partner.

The world association Fia and the Mercedes team also condemned the statements. “We condemn any use of racist and discriminatory language of any kind,” the team said. Hamilton is leading the sport’s fight against racism and is a “true champion of diversity on and off the track”.

The Fia also emphasized its solidarity with the seven-time world champion and condemned racism. A year after the controversial Silverstone incident, Formula 1 returns to the UK for the tenth round of the season at the weekend.