The FIA, Formula One’s governing body and controller of a variety of other motor sports, is to launch a new campaign at the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix this year: Racing Against Racism. The new initiative comes in the wake of abuse and racist taunts hurled at McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton at a recent test session, and since disclosed at last years Chinese Grand Prix as well. The FIA have invited all involved with Formula One and international motor sport to put their weight behind the campaign, including the teams, drivers, circuits and authorities.
Speaking to Autosport, an FIA spokesperson told of the body’s shock at what McLaren and Hamilton endured while testing in Spain, and have thus vowed to rid the sport of further racist behaviour.
The FIA was appalled by the scenes of racist abuse targeted at Lewis Hamilton. Formula One is a global, multi-cultural sport and has never encountered such scenes before and will not tolerate them in future.
International motor sport can reach a huge global audience to send out positive messages of racial and sporting equality. We will be encouraging all those involved in motor sport to support our new campaign, from recent world champions to the next generation of potential champions at the grass roots of our sport. FIA Spokesperson.
Immediately after the incidents at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, the FIA warned the circuits that any further behaviour witnessed could lead to further repercussions, implying that Spain could lose it’s two grands prix this year, one at Barcelona and the other at the new Valencia street circuit.
McLaren have already backed the initiative, supporting and applauding the FIA and their efforts and hope the incident in Barcelona was just an isolated case.
Together with the Spanish motorsport authorities, the Barcelona circuit management and the vast majority of the Spanish people, as well as all genuine F1 fans worldwide, we applaud the FIA’s decision to launch an anti-racism campaign for motorsport and we will support it in whatever way we can.
We fervently hope that the racist behaviour of a tiny minority of so-called F1 fans at a recent Barcelona test was an isolated incident that will not be repeated elsewhere. McLaren Spokesperson.
So far at Jerez this week there has been no reported repeat of the issues seen in Catalunya, and this campaign will hopefully help educate people that racism will simply not be tolerated. Not only racism though, general bad conduct at racing circuits should be clamped down on with a firm grip, to prevent any escalation of stupidity among the minority who believe Neanderthal-like behaviour is acceptable.
The FIA are intending to set up a website supporting the campaign where fans can pledge their support.