Formula 1 heads ask teams to back anti-racism campaign
Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, on Wednesday called on teams, drivers and track owners to help launch a "Racing against Racism" initiative.14 February 2008
MADRID - Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, on Wednesday called on teams, drivers and track owners to help launch a "Racing against Racism" initiative, due to be launched at the Spanish Grand Prix at the Montmeló circuit near Barcelona on 27 April.
The move comes less than two weeks after Britain's Lewis Hamilton, the sport's first black driver, was jeered by Spanish motor racing fans - some sporting blacked-up faces and wearing afro wigs - during testing at Montmeló.
The FIA was quick to warn the Spanish motor racing authorities that both the Spanish Grand Prix and the street race in Valencia later in the season could be suspended if there were any repeat of trackside racist abuse in Spain.
"The FIA was appalled by the scenes of racist abuse targeted at Lewis Hamilton," an FIA spokesman said yesterday. "Formula 1 is a global, multicultural sport and has never encountered such scenes before, and will not tolerate them in the future," he continued. The FIA will now be talking to groups involved in other sports such as football "to take on board what they have learned."
Hamilton's McLaren team said it would support the campaign "in whatever way we can."
In his first season in Formula 1, Hamilton was involved in bitter rivalry with his 2007 McLaren teammate, Fernando Alonso of Spain. Alonso now drives for Renault.
Both Hamilton and Alonso are currently testing their cars in Jerez, southern Spain. No incidents have been reported.
[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]
Subject: Spanish news