Nelson Piquet
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Formula One Made Nelson Piquet a Rich Man, but Now He Might Be Banned

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author

Jun. 29 2022, Published 4:36 a.m. ET

Former Formula One driver Nelson Piquet has been at a center of controversy for reportedly using derogatory and racist language. What’s Piquet’s net worth, and what do we know about his family life and F1 career?

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Piquet was born on Aug. 17, 1952, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He first played tennis but soon lost interest in the game to take up karting. He became Brazil's national karting champion in 1971–72.

Nelson Piquet

Former Formula One driver

Net worth: $200 million (estimated)

Nelson Piquet, a former F1 driver, first started F1 in 1978 and continued until 1991. He won three championships and is rated among F1's all-time greats.

Birthdate: Aug. 17, 1952

Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Education: Piquet attended two years of an engineering program before dropping out

Spouses: Maria Clara Vassalo (divorced), Sylvia Tamsma (divorced), Vivianne de Souza Leão

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Nelson Piquet's long F1 career reflects in his net worth

Piquet got into F1 in 1978 and continued until 1991. He won three championships and is rated among F1's all-time greats. After he quit F1, he was associated with Indianapolis 500 for two years.

The former F1 driver has an estimated net worth of $200 million, according to Superyacht Fan. He owns several businesses in Brazil and founded Autotrac, which uses technology to track car fleets. He also owns a yacht, the Pilar Rossi.

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nelson piquet junior
Source: @NelsonPiquet Twitter

Nelson Piquet's sons are carrying on the family tradition

Piquet married Maria Clara Vassalo in 1976. The marriage lasted for only a year and the couple had one child, Geraldo. He then married Sylvia Tamsma and had three children—Nelson Angelo (born 1985), Kelly (1988), and Julia (1992)—and then Vivianne de Souza Leão, with whom he had two kids: Pedro Estacio (1998) and Marco (2000).

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Piquet manages his sons Pedro and Nelson, Jr., who, like him, are professional drivers. Nelson, Jr. was banned from the F1 after he deliberately crashed his car in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to help his teammate, Fernando Alonso.

lewis hamilton
Source: @LewisHamilton Twitter
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Controversy is swirling after Piquet's comments made headlines

Piquet has received widespread condemnation for his derogatory language against Lewis Hamilton, who, with his seven F1 titles, holds the most in history. The comments were made in 2021 but have come to light only recently.

He made the comments in an interview about Hamilton and Max Verstappen (Kelly Piquet's boyfriend) at the first lap at Silverstone. He said that Hamilton “put the car in and left it there because there was no way for two cars to pass on that corner. He made a dirty move. Lucky for him, only the other one driver [Verstappen] got f**ked.” Piquet also used the N-word to refer to Hamilton.

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Hamilton has demanded action against Piquet, saying “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’s Mercedes team and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) are also standing behind Hamilton. The FIA, which is contemplating banning Piquet from the F1 unless he apologizes to Hamilton, said it “strongly condemns any racist or discriminatory language and behavior, which have no place in sport or wider society.”


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