Formula 1 condemns Beckett’s “unacceptable” racist expression of Hamilton

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London (AFP) – Formula 1 on Tuesday denounced the racist term used by Brazilian Nelson Beckett, the three-time winner of the first category, against British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, deeming it “unacceptable”.

The 69-year-old Brazilian, who won the world title in 1981, 1983 and 1987, used the word “niginho”, which means “little negro” in Portuguese, when referring to Hamilton during a podcast interview in Brazil.

“Discriminating or racist language is in no way unacceptable and has no place in society,” F1 said in a statement, adding: “Lewis is a great ambassador for our sport and deserves respect. His tireless efforts to promote diversity and inclusion are a lesson to many and something we are committed to in Formula 1.”

Beckett was discussing an accident between Hamilton and Dutch driver Max Verstappen on the opening lap of last year’s British Grand Prix when he used the term, knowing the Brazilian’s daughter, Kelly, is the girlfriend of last season’s world champion. .

Hamilton, who made history as the first (and still is) black Formula 1 driver, is very active in bringing more diversity to the sport.

Mercedes “condemns in the strongest terms any use of racist or discriminatory language of any kind”, adding: “Lewis has led our sport’s fight against racism and is a true champion of diversity, both on and off the track.”

“Together, we share a vision for a diverse and inclusive sport, and this incident underscores the importance of continuing to strive for a better future.”

Hamilton is preparing for the British Grand Prix this weekend at Silverstone, hoping to capitalize on public support for his first win of the season.