|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
FIA launches anti-racism campaign
April 24, 2008 18:53 IST
Formula One's governing body launched an anti-racism campaign on Thursday at the Spanish Grand Prix circuit where McLaren's Lewis Hamilton [Images] was abused in February.
"With the support of the Formula One community, the launch of the EveryRace campaign sends a message that discrimination and prejudice can have no place in sport or society," The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement.
It encouraged fans to visit a Web site, www.everyrace.net, to pledge support for the campaign message that motor sport welcomed everyone irrespective of their gender, race or background.
Hamilton, Formula One's first black driver and former team mate of Spain's double world champion Fernando Alonso [Images], was abused by spectators at the Circuit de Catalunya during a pre-season test.
The FIA warned the Spanish authorities and circuits after that incident that the country's two grands prix -- the other is in Valencia in August -- could be at risk if there was any repeat.
There has been none and the governing body said on Thursday they had received a comprehensive report from the Spanish motor racing authorities and circuit owners.
"The FIA is grateful to the RFEA (Real Federacion Espanola de Automovilismo) and the Catalunyan circuit authorities for their effective and efficient response to this situation," the statement said.
"The FIA has monitored the measures recommended and implemented since February and has noted that no further such incidents have occurred.
"The FIA agrees with the RFEA assessment that the people involved in these incidents were 'not at all representative of the thousands of people who enjoy a convivial atmosphere and the spectacle offered by motor sport'."
Hamilton spoke warmly of the Spanish fans in a McLaren preview of Sunday's race, the fourth round of the season, making clear he harboured no ill-feelings.
"The Circuit de Catalunya is a great track; we can't ever lose it from the calendar," he said. "It always sees competitive racing and there are so many enthusiastic fans there all the time which makes for a great atmosphere."
On the campaign web site, he added: "I believe that motorsport, like all other sports, is about freedom of expression in the pursuit of competition and excellence. Nothing more, nothing less."
FIA president Max Mosley, embroiled in a sex scandal and absent from Barcelona, said one of the things that attracted him to motor sport was "that nobody cared about your background, race, gender or religion. All that mattered was how quick you were."
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone added: "The sport is all about a driver's ability and this will never have anything to do with their race or the colour of their skin."
Formula One: The Complete Coverage