A Brazilian court has fined former Formula One star Nelson Piquet for making homophobic and racist remarks about Lewis Hamilton.
Back in June 2022, Piquet faced massive backlash from Formula One fans after his November 2021 interview on a Brazillian podcast resurfaced.
In the aforementioned sit-down, the 70-year-old driver made racist and homophobic comments in Portuguese while discussing Hamilton’s British Grand Prix race against Max Verstappen – which resulted in a first-lap crash.
According to a report from Sky Sports, Piquet said: “The [racist term] must have been giving a lot of a** at the time. He was pretty bad.”
In response to the pushback from fans and the sporting community, Piquet issued a statement apologising for his actions.
“What I said was ill-thought-out, and I make no defence for it, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has widely and historically been used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘guy’ or ‘person’ and was never intended to offend,” the retired driver said.
Shortly after releasing his apology, Piquet was banned from the F1 paddock and stripped of his honorary membership to the British Racing Drivers Club.
He was also hit with court charges from the National LGBT+ Alliance of Brazil and three other human rights groups, who called for him to pay 10 million Reals (£1.5 million) for moral damages.
On 24 March, Judge Pedro Matos de Arrudo ruled in favour of the charges by ordering Piquet to pay a fine of five million Brazilian Reals (£778,000).
“The Substitute Judge of the 20th Civil Court of Brasilia sentenced former Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet Souto Maior to pay R$ 5 million in compensation for collective moral damages, to be allocated to funds for the promotion of racial equality and discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community due to the offence made against current Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton,” the court said in a statement.
In an additional statement, Judge Pedro Matos de Arrudo said that the compensation amount was reached “in the sense that one should appreciate the reparative function of civil liability but also (perhaps mainly) the punitive function so that, as a society, we can someday be free from the pernicious acts that are racism and homophobia” (per Reuters).
The ruling comes a few months after Hamilton condemned Piquet for his harmful statement on Twitter.
“It’s more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport,” he wrote at the time.
“I’ve been surrounded by these attitudes and targeted my whole life. There has been plenty of time to learn. Time has come for action.”