F1: Brundle in trouble after ‘pikey’ grid remark

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarMonday, June 9th, 2008

 
 

Whoops – Lewis Hamilton wasn’t the only one with a red face in the aftermath of the Canadian Grand Prix this morning. Martin Brundle is is trouble for using the distinctly un-PC term ‘pikeys’ to describe the people repairing the damaged track surface.

The official version, as reported by the Daily Mail and The Telegraph, has him asking Bernie Ecclestone: “There are some pikeys there at turn 10 putting tarmac down – what do you think of that?”

We’d quibble with that slightly and, not to repeat the controversial word more often than necessary for strict journalistic verisimilitude, point out that we thought he actually followed up the observation with the words “do you think they’ll be gone by the time the race starts?”

No matter. The term has been described as ‘highly derogatory’ by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, although ITV has said it was initially unable to confirm whether or not anyone complained.

It later admitted to a “small number” of calls and a spokesman said: “We apologise for any offence.”

We do have to admit to a ‘Hang on, did he really say that?’ moment during the grid walk – the life of which is looking shorter with every race.

To the uninitiated (or for non-native English speakers), the term derives from the English word turnpike, or toll-charging point on a road, referring to those with a travelling lifestyle.

It is usually applied in a pejorative way to Gypsies and Travellers, hence its insulting connotations.

Our view: he probably did overstep the mark a bit this time – but the people that should really be crying foul are the ones that got that track into race condition and stable enough for the full 70 laps.

To be dismissed as pikeys laying dodgy tarmac really does sell their efforts short.

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