02.18.08

F1′s Ecclestone : Racist Abuse “Nothing To Worry About”

Posted in Racism Corner, Vroom Vroom at 3:33 pm by

Given a prior QPR chairman’s involvement in the career of Billy Idol, you’d think there’d be no greater guilt-by-association for the Superhoops. Not so, report the The Guardian’s Alan Henry and Matthew Taylor.

Bernie Ecclestone was last night criticised for dismissing the recent racism aimed at Lewis Hamilton as a “one-off” and declaring that the decision by motor racing’s governing body to launch an anti-racism initiative, was unnecessary.

Ecclestone, formula one’s commercial rights holder, yesterday brushed aside the behaviour of a group of Spaniards who abused Hamilton during a testing session in Barcelona two weeks ago as nothing to worry about. “I don’t think they’re fans,” said Ecclestone. “I don’t think they’re anything. I think they like to abuse people. It was a one-off, nothing to worry about.”

But Weyman Bennett, of the campaign Unite Against Fascism, said: “I think these comments are totally unacceptable. There should be a clear message that bigotry and racism are not tolerated in formula one. I think the idea that when people are racist you ignore them is just not acceptable.”

The FIA last week revealed plans for their Racing against Racism initiative, which will be unveiled at the Spanish grand prix in April, although Ecclestone told the BBC: “I don’t think it’s necessary. All it does, like all these things, is give attention to the people who want attention.”

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