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FIA condemns Hamilton abuse at Barcelona 04 Feb 2008

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 01 February 2008. World © Patching/Sutton Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 Formula One Testing, Day One, Barcelona, Spain, 01 February 2008. World © Patching/Sutton

Formula One racing’s governing body, the FIA, has publically condemned events during last weekend’s test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, after it was claimed McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton was subjected to racist abuse.

“The FIA is surprised and disappointed at the abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton,” a spokesman told reporters over the weekend. “Abuse of this kind is a clear breach of the principles enshrined in the FIA statutes and any repetition will result in serious sanctions.”

Over the course of the three-day test, Spanish newspapers reported that Hamilton and his team were booed and jeered from the Spanish track’s grandstands, by fans believed to be angry about the British driver’s strained relationship last season with his then team mate Fernando Alonso.

In an attempt to diffuse the situation, circuit officials are understood to have increased security around the track and removed offensive banners from the grandstands. The next test session in Spain will take place from February 12-14 at Jerez.