SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) - The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) announced on Thursday it had suspended the honorary membership of retired triple Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet and planned to end it after he used racially offensive language to refer to Lewis Hamilton.
The BRDC, which owns the Silverstone circuit that hosts the British Grand Prix, noted in a statement that Piquet had apologised to the seven-times world champion but said it had a zero-tolerance policy towards racism.
"The BRDC Board has concluded that Mr Piquet Sr’s use of racially offensive language to describe a fellow BRDC member (and seven-times world champion) is unacceptable and represents conduct that is wholly inappropriate for an Honorary Member of the BRDC, notwithstanding his subsequent apology," it said.
"Accordingly, we have advised Mr Piquet Sr that his membership has been suspended with immediate effect.
"Following the Club’s due process, it is anticipated that the Board will terminate Mr Piquet Sr’s membership at a board meeting to be held after the required 7-day notice period."
Formula One sources have said Piquet is also no longer welcome inside the paddock, although he has not been a regular attendee.
Piquet, 69, was four times a British Grand Prix runner-up, finishing second twice at Silverstone and twice at Brands Hatch.
Hamilton has won a record eight times at Silverstone.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)