Following the disgraceful behaviour of ‘fans’ at the Spanish Circuit de Catalunya this weekend, the FIA have responded by saying that any further repeats would not be tolerated, suggesting that if the circuit doesn’t respond appropriately and effectively, the track will be on the receiving end of repercussions, possibly losing their race. As I stated on F1Fanatic earlier today, racism should absolutely not be tolerated in Formula One and the incidents of this weekend are a stark reminder of the sport’s popularity and widening appeal.
The officials at Catalunya tried their best to confine and control the abuse, closing off part of the grandstand opposite McLaren’s garage, the team facing the brunt of the verbal and visual abuse. The security guards at the circuit also removed banners and erected a fence around the McLaren pit area. However, it seems as though this didn’t deter some visitors, some photographed with darkly-painted faces and t-shirts saying “Hamilton’s Familly” [sic] on the front and “Alonso #1” on the back. These people are reported to have hurled abuse at Lewis Hamilton who spent much of the weekend being escorted around with a group of McLaren and circuit staffers.
Dealing with racism and abuse is tricky, as I’m sure it was just a small group of ‘fans’ who decided to do this. But as the old saying goes, it spoils it for everyone else, damages the sport and of course, those who are on the receiving end of abuse don’t deserve it.
The FIA is surprised and disappointed at the abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton. Abuse of this kind is a clear breach of the principles enshrined in the FIA statutes and any repetition will result in serious sanctions. FIA Spokesperson.
The “serious sanctions” haven’t been defined, but as mentioned earlier, they could be the stripping of the race away from the track. Spain has two races this season, hosting the home event at Catalunya and the European Grand Prix around the streets of Valencia. Let’s hope both tracks remain on the calendar and this behaviour isn’t repeated.