FEBRUARY 6, 2008
The question of racism
Racism is an ugly thing and the fact that a number of Spanish fans felt the need to be offensive to Lewis Hamilton during the recent test is not something that can be considered acceptable in the sport. Chanting racial abuse is not great advert for Spain and the perpetrators need to be made to understand that. But how does one handle such a situation? Does one blame the circuit for not apprehending those involved and banning them forever from the track? Does one blame the country from which the perpetrators came? Or does one just ignore these stupid bigots and get on with what is important?
The very first clause in the FIA statutes makes it clear that FIA member clubs shall "refrain from manifesting racial, political or religious discrimination". But are clubs accountable for the behaviour of a few ignorant fans? It is hard to see how they can be held responsible, but at the same time one cannot simply ignore such things and hope that they will go away. Perhaps the best response would be for the FIA to make it very clear to the clubs in Spain and to the public in general that any such deomnstrations in the future will result in action. That will guarantee that anyone thinking of such stupidity will think twice before opening their mouths again for fear that they will not only incite the wrath of fellow Spaniards but also the authorities. They need to understand that by resorting to such abuse they are not great Spaniards but rather traitors to their country.