Montmeló pledges to curb racism after Hamilton abuse

6th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

The director of Barcelona's Montmeló motor-racing circuit, where British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton was racially abused last weekend, has promised that action will be taken to prevent such scenes marring the holding of the Spanish Grand Prix in April.

6 February 2008

MADRID - The director of Barcelona's Montmeló motor-racing circuit, where British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton was racially abused last weekend, has promised that action will be taken to prevent such scenes marring the holding of the Spanish Grand Prix in April.

Hamilton, whose father was born in Grenada in the Caribbean, was targeted for abuse by fans of Spanish driver Fernando Alonso during testing sessions at the circuit. But Montmeló director Ramón Pradera said the circuit authorities had already written to the FIA Formula 1 governing body "assuring them that we will eliminate all racist elements."

"Although we cannot ensure that every fan will behave in the appropriate manner, we will do our best to act," Pradera said.

Hamilton, who became a fierce rival of former world champion Alonso during their season together in the McLaren team in 2007, said on Monday that he was "sad" over the incidents, but expressed his liking for Spain and previously good relationship with Spanish people.

Despite his assurances that steps will be taken to prevent racist abuse in the future, Pradera sought to highlight the good behaviour displayed by most of those who had attended the weekend practice sessions.

"I was present at all times and we cannot generalise the actions of four or five individuals in comparison with the 50,000 spectators who were here at the weekend," he said.

The leader of the Spanish NGO Movement against Intolerance, Esteban Ibarra, yesterday joined the criticism of the racist incidents, but was against closing the circuit, as this would punish "all fans alike and the sport itself."

[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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