The British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) suspended the honorary membership of three-time Formula One world champion Nelson Pique on Thursday after he used racially abusive language to refer to Lewis Hamilton.
BRDC, which owns the Silverstone track, which hosts the British Grand Prix, said in a statement that it plans to eventually terminate Pique’s membership.
It notes that the 69-year-old Brazilian apologized to the seven-time world champion, but said he had a policy of zero tolerance for racism.
“The BRDC Board of Directors has concluded that Mr. Pique Sr.’s use of racially abusive language to describe a fellow BRDC member (and seven-time world champion) is unacceptable and constitutes conduct that is completely inappropriate for an honorary BRDC member, regardless of from his subsequent apology, “a statement said.
“Accordingly, we have informed Mr Pique Sr. that his membership has been suspended immediately. “Following the proper process of the club, the board is expected to terminate the membership of Mr. Pique Sr. at a board meeting, which will take place after the required 7-day notice period.”
Formula 1 sources said Pique was also no longer welcome in the paddock, although he was not a regular participant.
Pique is a four-time runner-up in the British Grand Prix, finishing second twice in Silverstone and twice in Brands Hatch.
Hamilton won a record eight times at Silverstone.
Incumbent Red Bull world champion Max Verstappen, whose partner Kelly is Pique’s daughter, told reporters that banning the Brazilian from the paddock would be the wrong move.
“I think it’s better to start a conversation than to ban it,” said the Dutch driver, who admitted that the words used by Pique were offensive and should not have been used.
“When you ban people, you don’t even help the situation, you don’t talk. You have to communicate. Communication is really important. “If you just ban them, it doesn’t help what you’re trying to impose, does it?” You’re trying to educate people, so it’s better to talk. “
Verstappen said he had spent some time with Pique and the champion “is definitely not a racist. He is actually a really nice and calm person. ”
He also said that he had not spoken to Hamilton about the dispute, but the Briton already knows how he feels and feels his full respect.