Are Red Bull Racing showing a double standard with regards to their stance against racism in Formula 1?
On one hand, the Austrian team condemned the actions of their reserve driver Juri Vips after he made a racial slur during his live stream on Twitch. After investigations, Red Bull have now axed the Estonian driver, who was their reserve driver for the 2022 season.
On the other hand, Red Bull have maintained a strange silence in the face of Nelson Piquet’s racial slur against Lewis Hamilton. F1 journalist Chris Medland revealed that the current Constructors’ championship leaders have decided not to make a statement.
The F1 fraternity, including current and former drivers, has come out in support of Hamilton, condemning Piquet for his comments against the Mercedes driver. However, Max Verstappen, whose girlfriend Kelly Piquet is the daughter of the three-time F1 world champion, has refrained from making a statement.
Verstappen is vocal on social media during race weekends, and has spoken out about on-track incidents in the past. It remains to be seen if the Dutch racer will come out in support of his former title rival or decide to remain silent in the face of racism rearing its ugly head in F1.
Formula 1 and the FIA have released statements supporting Hamilton, but are yet to openly condemn Piquet for his comments. Similarly, Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin and Haas F1 have come out in support of Hamilton and Mercedes.
Hamilton says it is the “archaic mindsets” that need to change and called for action after saying there has been enough time to learn. The British racing driver has received support from a number of his colleagues, with Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Esteban Ocon lauding the Mercedes driver.
“It’s more than language. These archaic mindsets need to change and have no place in our sport. 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,” Hamilton wrote.
The F1 juggernaut is at Silverstone this weekend for the British Grand Prix. There is certain to be added support for home favourite Hamilton, and there is certain to be pressure on the FIA to take immediate action against Piquet, from whom they have demanded a public apology.