x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

FIA investigate racism claim

The FIA are investigating a claim of racism by a member of the crowd at the Spanish Grand Prix after a racegoer was pictured with his face blackened.

The FIA, motorsport's governing body, are investigating a claim of racism by a member of the crowd at Circuit de Catalunya track after a racegoer was pictured with his face blackened at the Spanish Grand Prix. In wearing a Vodafone shirt, it appeared a clear insult aim at the world champion Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren-Mercedes driver has suffered racial abuse in the past at the circuit with similar scenes during testing in February last year. The FIA warned the circuit over the disgraceful antics and launched an anti-racism campaign, but may take stronger action following the latest incident. A spokesman said: "We are aware of it and looking into it." Hamilton has been keen to play down the racism aspect, saying Barcelona is one of his favourite circuits. But organisers will be clearly embarrassed, particularly as they unveiled a plaque in honour of his title success on Champions Avenue. Eddie Jordan, the former Formula One team owner, said: "The FIA needs to come down heavily on the venue because racism is totally and absolutely unacceptable." More than 92,000 people watched Jenson Button win the race - his fourth victory in the first five races of the season. *The National