Lewis Hamilton has called for Bernie Ecclestone and Sir Jackie Stewart to be censored, and declared “enough is enough” after Nelson Piquet’s racial slur.
The seven-time world champion was speaking ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix – days after 69-year-old Piquet’s offensive reference to Hamilton emerged from a podcast recorded last November.
Triple world champion Stewart, 83, said recently Hamilton should “resign” after struggling for results this season, while Ecclestone, 91, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Thursday he would “take a bullet” for Vladimir Putin, also describing the Russian president as a “first-class person”.
“I don’t know why we are continuing to give these older voices a platform,” said Hamilton.
“They are speaking for our sport, but we are looking to go somewhere different and they are not representative of who we are now in the sport and where we are planning to go.
“If we are looking to grow our audiences in places like the US and South Africa, we need to be giving the younger people a platform that is more representative of today’s time and who we are trying to be.
“It is not just about one individual, or the use of that term [by Piquet], but the bigger picture.”
Hamilton, 37, continued: “I put to F1 and to the media that we should not be giving these people a platform – these old voices, who, whether it is subconscious or conscious, do not agree people like me should be in this sport.
“But I am still here, still standing strong and trying to do my work and pushing diversity. Discrimination exists. It is still all around us. Enough is enough.”
Ecclestone later doubled down on his controversial remarks in an interview on TalkTV’s Piers Morgan Uncensored, repeating his favourable impression of Mr Putin and describing the Russian leader as “a good guy”.
Having been shown a clip of Hamilton’s earlier press conference, Ecclestone called the Mercedes driver’s comments “a complete load of rubbish”, adding: “If he’s referring to me, he should think a little bit … I’m not racist, quite the opposite actually, and to say things like that is completely crazy.”
Ecclestone ruled F1 for more than four decades, but the sport has moved to distance itself from his remarks.
“The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very stark contrast to the position of the modern values of our sport,” a spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the British Racing Drivers’ Club has suspended the honorary membership of triple Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet for his slur on Hamilton.
The BRDC, which owns the Silverstone circuit that hosts the British Grand Prix, said in a statement it planned ultimately to terminate Piquet’s membership.
It noted the 69-year-old Brazilian had apologised to the seven-times world champion but said it had a zero-tolerance policy on racism.
“The BRDC Board has concluded that Mr Piquet Sr’s use of racially offensive language to describe a fellow BRDC member [and seven-times world champion] is unacceptable and represents conduct that is wholly inappropriate for an Honorary Member of the BRDC, notwithstanding his subsequent apology,” it said in a statement.