Bernie Ecclestone ties Nelson Piquet’s racial slur to Max Verstappen

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

In his defence of Nelson Piquet, Bernie Ecclestone explained the Brazilian’s racial slur was probably made due to his daughter Kelly being Max Verstappen’s girlfriend.

Bernie Ecclestone gave a bewildering interview on Good Morning Britain, in which he said he would “still take a bullet” for “first class person” Vladimir Putin.

He also tried to defend Nelson Piquet, after the Brazilian used a racial slur when referring to Lewis Hamilton.

“I was with him [Piquet] a couple of weeks ago,” Ecclestone said.

“It’s not the sort of thing Nelson would say meaning something bad. He probably thinks lots of things he says which might upset us or might feel a little bit offensive….

“To him it’s nothing. It’s just part of conversation. Nelson would never go out of his way to say anything bad, certainly.”

Piquet used the slur while commenting on Hamilton’s 2021 collision with Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix.

Surprisingly, Ecclestone attempted to explain Piquet’s words by highlighting the fact that his daughter Kelly is in a relationship with Verstappen.

“I think what probably happened, knowing Nelson as I know him, as his daughter is the girlfriend of Max Verstappen, probably after seeing the accident, he probably exploded and carried that forward.

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“Well it’s probably not appropriate with us. But probably it isn’t something terrible that happens if you said that in Brazil.”

The Brazilian has since apologized for his words, but in his statement, he blamed the backlash on a wrong translation of the word he used. Ecclestone thinks this ‘apology’ should put things to rest.

“People say things… if people happen to be a little bit overweight, or undersized like me, I’m quite sure a lot of people have made remarks about that.

“If I’d have heard it, I’d have been able to deal with it myself without too much trouble. I’m surprised Lewis hasn’t just brushed it aside. Or, better than that, replied.

“But he’s now come out and Nelson has apologised. So everybody seems, or should be, happy,” the Briton concluded.

Since the interview had aired, Formula 1 publicly distanced itself from Ecclestone and his words.

“The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very stark contrast to position of the modern values of our sport,” a statement from F1 read.

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