Mosley reiterates Spanish GP threat ahead of test

Max Mosley, Lewis Hamilton, FIA Gala, 2007 | FIAMax Mosley has re-affirmed his threat to cancel this year’s two Grands Prix in Spain if there is any repeat of the racist abuse aimed at Lewis Hamilton at the Circuit de Catalunya last week.

He has also revealed Hamilton was racially abused by Spanish spectators at the Chinese Grand Prix:

Anthony Hamilton told me that there were some people in China who were also appallingly abusive; not Chinese fans, but people who had travelled from Spain.

If Mosley had first heard of the problem back in October then one assumes the Spanish motor racing authority were warned about it. However he also pointed out only a small number of people have been involved so far:

If, as appears to be the case, 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.

Although it does seem that the racist abuse was coming from a small section of the crowd, the FIA must show they are aware that tolerating it for any length of time will only encourage it to grow.

Furthermore if the FIA were to ignore it, Mosley could end up facing damaging questions relating to his father, who was the leader of the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s.

Judging by Max Mosley’s reaction so far I don’t think he has done anything to deserve it. Last week some members of the British press were calling for harsher penalties and suggesting the races were in no danger of being cancelled, but there seems to be a greater sense of perspective in recent reports.

McLaren and several other teams are testing at the Circuito do Jerez from Tuesday to Thursday this week (12-14th), and returning to the Circuit de Catalunya on the Tuesday to Thursday after (19-21st). (For more test dates see the F1Fanatic Google Calendar).

But it’s not just the organisers of the Spanish racers who need to be careful – racism is not only a problem Spain.

Photo copyright: FIA

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23 comments on Mosley reiterates Spanish GP threat ahead of test

  1. Number 38 said on 10th February 2008, 18:55

    Oh yea, “people that traveled from Spain” (to China) and got close enough to be “abusive”.
    We just can’t let this go, eh?
    Where was that story 5 months ago?
    It got quiet during the passed couple of days and now we’ve got to stir the pot again!

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th February 2008, 19:22

    I guess Hamilton senior thought a quiet word in the FIA president’s ear was a better way of dealing with it than going to the press. Or he made it up, but in light of recent events I’d be more inclined to believe the former.

  3. This racism story is threatening to swallow up the 2008 season like Spygate did to the 2007 season. We’ve got to sort it out quickly and not casually trade threats like Mosley is doing.

  4. carlos said on 10th February 2008, 20:30

    People travelling from Spain to China just to be abusive? Maybe that is because the lack of circuits here in Europe.

    A grand prix is not a test circuit, there is a lot of press and people there. I guess if Anthony observed that, the press would have known something about that abuse too, as well as the chinese police.

  5. Eric M. said on 10th February 2008, 20:33

    I wouldn’t regard the comments by Mosely as casual threats. They are very clear warnings that carry a lot of weight, and should, in my opinion, ensure that the Spanish race organizers do their utmost to prevent this from happening again. I think he has handled the situation correctly.

  6. Architrion said on 10th February 2008, 21:06

    What they want to prevent is Lewis to feel uncomfortable everywhere he goes. Maybe we would be perfect F1 fans if we support Lewis like a new kind of Brave New World’s epsilons….. It this boy can’t win the champ this year with all support he is receiving from Moxley I don’t know where will he end… NASCAR??????

    I liked this guy, but after this issue and how he has managed it in comparison with what the “Nazi” Schu did when it was under pressure I feel the guy has stepped down the whole stair.

  7. I wonder if Max has asked Bernie’s permission to cancel the Spanish races. What a blow to BE’s pocket book that would be. It aint going to happen (but it should)

  8. frecon said on 10th February 2008, 21:36

    And where’s the limit? If something happens this week in Jerez, how mosley will judge if it’s organization’s fault?

    With Ecclestone looking for make some room to the new GPs, i would be very worried if i were in the Montmelo’s directors shoes.

    I hope not to be very pesimistic, but probably in this week test we could see some casuals, or neonazi trash looking for their “minute of glory”. People who never before watch a F1 race, but is on every single violent affair. This kind of people is no longer skin-heads, and nowadays is really hard to identificate them in controls.

    I guess this week will be more journalists lookint at the stands than looking at the track, and if something happen again in 5 five minutes will be in the internet papers all over the world. I think is too soon to make a judgement. If there is a very little incident, british media ask for big responasbilities, spanish staff would say they control the situation inmediatly, Mosley would have problems either he punish or don’t. It’s a everybody loose situation.

    They should close the circuit and make the test with no public.

  9. Powerline 2008 said on 11th February 2008, 1:37

    If the FIA should decide to pull both races out of Spain, they can always have one in Indy & the other in LA. The FIA is always welcome to re-introduce F1 races in the US.

  10. Holy crap, everyone … and I DO mean “everyone”.

    Let’s separate the chaff from the wheat, shall we?

    Racism is a reality — everywhere.

    It happened in Barcelona, and it’s happened elsewhere on the F1 circuit — and on EVERY OTHER CIRCUIT, NO MATTER THE RACE OR THE RACE — since the beginning of motorsports, not to mention “civilization”.

    At this point — it’s more a political statement by those in any position to make one, than it is a global stance … which NO ONE in this picture is able to make with any credibility whatsofreakin’ever.

    Hamilton is not the poster-child for “racism”. GET REAL.

  11. Nico Savidge said on 11th February 2008, 6:04

    On a lighter note, I think I’ve found the most ironic quote in Formula 1 history. Max Mosley said about the scandal, “We have a very wide discretion, but we have to be responsible and measured.”

    Because if there’s one thing Mad Max Mosley is known for, it’s his responsible use of power…

  12. Architrion said on 11th February 2008, 7:26

    … and his wide discretion

  13. Robert Mckay said on 11th February 2008, 8:43

    “I wouldn’t regard the comments by Mosely as casual threats.”

    But at the same time can you really see the European Grand Prix at Valencia cancelled before it’s debut? They’re hyping this race (along with Singapore) as two new “crown jewels” of F1. If I wanted to be cynical I would say the threats are for Barcelona alone, and even if that did get cancelled (which I doubt) then Valencia would be reinstated as it had given the fans “time to reflect” or something equally vague.

    Anyway, how many people hurling racist abuse does it take to get a race cancelled? 10? 100? 1000? What is the number? It would be silly (and impractical anyway) to say all it takes is one person.

  14. Architrion said on 11th February 2008, 10:03

    I’m thinking on some funny situations that could occur from now on…. If we would like to ban Silverstone Grand Prix we know what we have to do… Just call some friends and take a wonderful trip on race weekend and throw some racist stuff on Hamilton… maybe some carnival customs could help. Grand Prix hunting season is now open…. good hunting

  15. I suppose we should be thankful that the British GP is not due to coincide with any holidays this year. Though testing could still be a danger…

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