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Spanish circuit issues formal statement 04 Feb 2008

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 Formula One Testing, Day Three, Barcelona, Spain, 03 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

Following reports that spectators directed racist abuse at McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton during last weekend’s three-day test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, the Spanish track has released a statement to clarify its position.

In the press release, the circuit backs the FIA’s condemnation of the fans’ behaviour and reveals that it will introduce a set of measures to prevent a similar incident from occurring again.

The press release in full:
The Circuit de Catalunya wishes to explain its position regarding the actions of a minority of spectators on Friday, February 1st during the test session of Formula One teams:

1. The total number of spectators during the three days of the event was 55,000 fans with a general attitude of respectful and excellent behaviour during the whole session. The Circuit de Catalunya particularly wants to thank the majority of fans for their attitude, and kindly seeks public recognition of this.

2. We strongly support the FIA’s position with regards to fighting against all racial, political or religious discrimination in motor sport.

3. The Circuit de Catalunya will not allow even the smallest incident to repeat itself within its facilities, and new measures are currently being taken into consideration in addition to those implemented during the latest sessions. These measures have been studied with the support of the Catalan Police and the Circuit’s security services, and they will be reinforced in the upcoming tests sessions and at the Gran Premio de España Telefónica de Formula One.

4. That the Gran Premio de España Telefónica de Formula One represents the image of a country in the world and the Circuit de Catalunya will not accept any abuse of this image through racist attitudes or attacks on sporting competitions. The Circuit requests the Grand Prix to be the genuine meeting point for all the different supporters of drivers and teams in our sport. Especially to represent the welcome and sporting values of our country and our national sponsor.

5. In case of sanctions, the Circuit de Catalunya may consider the possibility of taking legal actions against those who caused the incidents, regardless of the magnitude.

6. The Circuit de Catalunya will officially state its position to the FIA, the Real Federación Española de Automovilismo (Spanish Motorsports Federation) and the rest of circuits in Spain, with special interest for those who also host Formula One tests.

Circuit de Catalunya
February 4th, 2008