Hamilton abuse prompts anti-racism drive
Thursday 14 February 2008
Angered by the recent outburst of racism against Lewis Hamilton in Barcelona – of which there was no repeat when F1 testing resumed in Jerez this week – the FIA is to launch a "Racing against Racism" campaign aimed at nipping the habit in the bud.
According to the website autosport.com, teams, drivers and circuits will all be expected to join the crusade, which aims to drive home the message that racism is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It will be launched officially at the Spanish Grand Prix in May, but the story appears to have been leaked early.
The FIA were incensed when a group of fans in recent testing in Barcelona dressed in black wigs and blacked up their faces, then hurled racist abuse at Hamilton whenever he appeared in the paddock.
The FIA have yet to make any official comment, but yesterday a spokesman confirmed to autosport.com that the campaign would call on all motor racing participants for support.
"The FIA was appaled by the scenes of racist abuse targeted at Lewis Hamilton," he said. "Such behaviour runs counter to the fundamental principles of equality enshrined in the FIA's statutes.
"Formula One 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."
Earlier this month the FIA threatened financial penalties against the circuits at Catalunya and Valencia, the venues for Spain's two grands prix this season, if there was a repeat of the incident involving Hamilton, and could even strike the races from the calendar if measures are not put in place to ensure that racism is stamped out.
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