Horner tries to explain Red Bull’s silence over Nelson Piquet’s racial slur

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner awkwardly tried to defend his team’s decision not to put out a statement backing Lewis Hamilton after Nelson Piquet’s racial slur.

After Nelson Piquet’s racial slur toward Lewis Hamilton came to light, many Formula 1 teams and drivers immediately issued statements expressing their support for Hamilton and condemning Piquet’s racist words.

However, Red Bull and Max Verstappen (who is the boyfriend of Piquet’s daughter Kelly) remained silent. Verstappen commented on the issue on Thursday, only when asked, while Christian Horner did so today.

When asked by journalists why his team remained silent, Horner awkwardly tried to explain that this was because they had already made a similar statement regarding their reserve driver Juri Vips.

On the same day the team had announced that they have terminated Vips’ contract, after his own racist statements in a livestream came to light.

“Well, first of all, of course, we are appalled by Nelson’s comments and it is from an interview that was from some time ago,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.

“But we had obviously had an instance with one of our young drivers at the end of last week and we took very definitive action where he had made a racist comment and so we took action and we immediately removed him from the team.

“So, we put out a statement about Juri and then this one comes out and we felt that we had made a very strong statement through action of actually dropping Juri from the team by not in any way condoning any form of racism or discrimination.”

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However, the Vips statement was made after numerous teams had already issued their own statements in support of Hamilton.

Horner was pressed by the journalists on why would it be problematic to issue two statements on the same day.

“Well, we put out a statement earlier in the day about Juri, about having zero tolerance for racism – to then put out another statement about Nelson Piquet…

“Of course, we are fully behind Lewis, we are fully signed up to the Hamilton Commission and we felt that sometimes actions sometimes talk louder than words.

“And the action that we took with Juri was draconian but in line with the policy that we have.”

Horner then went on to say that Max Verstappen fully supports Hamilton.

“Max is absolutely clear that he is fully supportive of Lewis and not just Lewis, but just to any form of racism or discrimination in the sport.

“And as Red Bull, we are a young team, a very inclusive team, we have a very young following, a very diverse following and that is very important to us,” the Briton concluded.

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