Mosley reveals that Hamilton suffered abuse in China

10/02/2008
NEWS STORY

One week after a number of 'fans' caused outrage by blacking up their faces and donning "Hamilton familly' (sic) T-shirts at Barcelona, provoking a worldwide media storm, FIA President Max Mosley has revealed that the Englishman - the first black driver in Formula One - suffered racial abuse at last year's Chinese GP in Shanghai.

"Anthony Hamilton told me that there were some people in China who were also appallingly abusive," said Mosley, according to The Sunday Times, "not Chinese fans, but people who had travelled from Spain.

"If they went to Australia and did something like that, they could get arrested," he continued, "and we would know their names, and passport numbers, and they wouldn't get into another country.

"We will do everything we can to stamp this out," he added, "we will do whatever it takes. If, as appears to be the case, only a very small number of people are involved, it ought to be possible to stop it immediately. If it isn't, then we have sanctions and we could pull the grand prix."

While some, most notably the British media, have called on the FIA to cancel the Spanish GP at Barcelona - something that an FIA spokesman has intimated to Pitpass could happen despite widespread scepticism - Mosley believes that this would be an overreaction.

"We have a very wide discretion," he said, "but we have to be responsible and measured. "Not to give the Spanish authorities the opportunity to show they can deal with it and ensure there is no recurrence would have been over the top. But it is necessary to make it clear it will not be tolerated, and we have done that."

As the teams prepare for a three day test at Jerez this week, Mosley, like many, remains stunned by last week's incident(s), the first time that such behaviour has been witnessed in F1.

"It is against the ethos of the sport," he said. "One of the things that most attracted me to motorsport was that nobody cared about your background, race, gender or religion; the only thing that mattered was how quick you were. In that respect, it has always brought competitors and supporters from different countries together without a hint of trouble."

No doubt organizers at Jerez and indeed the FIA will be watching this week's test most carefully, for any further incidents could leave the sport's governing body to act, and be seen to have acted.

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Published: 10/02/2008
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