Alonso unconcerned by racist abuse of Hamilton

Fernando Alonso, Renault, 2008 | ING Renault F1 TeamFernando Alonso has broken his silence on the racist abuse of Lewis Hamilton by supporters of his at the Circuit de Catalunya two weeks ago:

This is not a racist country. This was an isolated thing — and the less it is talked about, the better. There were people enjoying Carnival and look what happened. They call me a dog and no one comes out in my defence. I don’t think we need an anti-racist campaign like FIA want to organize for the Grand Prix at Barcelona.

I’m concerned and disappointed by his attitude.

I’m not unsympathetic to his complaint that, “They call me a dog and no one comes out in my defence,” but it’s difficult to understand it when he hasn’t said who “they” are. As far as I’m aware “dog” isn’t a racial epithet unlike the cries of “black s***” that were directed at Hamilton.

Alonso has taken his cue from Bernie Ecclestone’s recent remarks along the same lines, using the same word “isolated” to describe them even though Max Mosley has suggested there was also racist abuse of Hamilton last year.

I know some people have reservations about the FIA’s hard-line stance against racism, and are concerned that it is an excessive reaction to abuse that, so far, has only involved a small number of people.

My reason for supporting the campaign is simple: this blog has had racist remarks posted on it and I have and will continue to delete them. They have not just been targeted at Hamilton, but most of them have. But whoever it is aimed at racism is disgusting and I will not allow it on my website.

One driver condoning the racist abuse of another is simply unacceptable. Will the FIA react?

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32 comments on Alonso unconcerned by racist abuse of Hamilton

  1. Before making my own judgement I would like to read the complete transcript of what Alonso had to say. Sometime few lines taken out of the longer speach may sound different than how they were meant. Especially when Alonso is not exactly the most loved driver by the media outside of Spain.

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st February 2008, 10:47

    Here’s more of what he had to say:

    I don’t think this is a racist country and the fans aren’t either. Whoever says that there’s racism in Spain is talking about isolated cases.

    The less we talk about what happened 15 days ago the better, because that’s a completely isolated case from someone who was celebrating carnival. I haven’t seen any video or recording of the alleged insults.

    It was an isolated incident and the FIA or anyone saying that the Spanish fans are racists is laughable.

    No, I haven’t met with him [Hamilton]. Last year they called me dog in a few races. Niki Lauda said those things about me and no one came to me to show me their support.

  3. Oh yes, just saw that, mentioning Niki Lauda :-)

    It definitelly does not sound right, at least in the version published so far. Would be interesting to see if he comes out in a day or two clarifying these remarks

  4. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st February 2008, 11:02

    It does seem odd, I didn’t remember Lauda making those remarks, but apparently he was reported as doing so in the Spanish press and denied it.

    At any rate if Alonso’s seen Hamilton get racist abuse and thought “that’s the same as when I got called a dog” then he’s missed the point. I wonder if the FIA might be making enquiries with Renault about whether they support the “Racing Against Racism” campaign, and asking them to make a statement to that effect.

    • At any rate if Alonso’s seen Hamilton get racist abuse and thought “that’s the same as when I got called a dog” then he’s missed the point.

      That’s an insult in the same way. The only thing is that it was said by someone of his same race and therefore wasn’t referred to that particular of him. This bashing of Alonso might as well be seen as bias towards a British. Why is insulting a British wrong and insulting a Spainard right? Obviously if you go in Spain everyone will be defending Fernando (I am not saying he’s always right whatever he says), if you go in England everyone will be supporting Lewis. And this is a British website, no matter how many times you proudly repeat it is international, and I agree with you on this fact. British website meaning articles are written by English.

  5. Architrion said on 21st February 2008, 11:39

    Just a question. Talking about “spaniards” sounds like some kind of racism to me, as I was told that people in Spain are spanish…..? But that’s the way spanish people is named in british media. Hipocrasy is its name. This issue is really out of sight. I really agree with him that to claim against racism and to blame a whole country because two silly minds dressed and painted in that ugly way is beyond the limits. And yes, he was told to act like a dog, and yes, I could read it on british media, and yes, Lauda said he was misunderstood because he intended to say that dog was the description of a class of driver (sure not the class he was). And it is not a racist issue if you live in London…. but in Madrid to be called dog can be worst that to be a black s….

  6. Steven Roy said on 21st February 2008, 11:54

    I thought Alonso made a statement at the time against racism.

    If this latest comment is atrue reflection of his opinion then at the very least he has been badly advised.

  7. RACISM??? Come on you guys!!!! Don’t pay for the paper more than what it’s worth.

    The FIA continues to overprotect Hamilton, damaging him and the sport on the way.

    Has MOSLEY made good choices in order to make F1 better??? Really ??? HOW ?

    Alonso is not very politically correct making statements, but he’s not a bad person. Let’s not make a big deal out of small things. This blog is not the Daily Sun right?

  8. I did a quick Google search last week to see the racist Spanish fans’ perspective — and within minutes I had found expansive sites such as and and a massive Flickr collection of ludicrously offensive Photoshop jobs. Maybe that’s not representative of the whole Spanish fanbase, but in 3 minutes of searching I am sure I had only scratched the surface. It was eye-opening seeing how widespread the hate is…

  9. frecon said on 21st February 2008, 13:57

    For me the problem with Alonso is he always answers the questions. Last year sometimes he said: “I’m not going to answer”, but eventually after 4 or 5 attempts he suddenly talks with journalists. The other big problem is he doesn’t know how to lie. For me that’s not a virtue in F1 and it’s a very big problem. Everytime he talks someone feels offended. Journalists knows it and take an advantage there. I have listened several interwievs to Alonso in ‘friendly media’ and I’m always surprised how journalist that are suposed to be friends, always make very uncomfortable questions looking for sensationalistic headlines. What he responses about the racist abuse is what a lot of people thinks in Spain. It was just a few persons, it happened just one day in more than 10 days testing in Spain, and looks like it was isolated. But he shouldn’t say it. After four years being in the very top of F1 Alonso still doesn’t know how to deal the media issue.

    I think Eclestone doesn’t want to make a big deal with the racist affair, as he said. After Ecclestone said that Hamilton refused to answer questions about racist abuse in Montmelo (days before Lewis and Anthony Hamilton did it).

    About the Lauda affair. The dog quote is just one of the several times Lauda despised Alonso last year. The funny thing is the same day Lauda said in spanish TV that Alonso is an excellent driver and a real champion, and in a german media said Alonso was behaving as a child. Personally i lose the respect to Lauda the day he said the monkey-drivers quote.

  10. Brilliant! I would suggest you to get the complete transcript of the interview before deciding on what context those lines were made. I have seen enough of “interpretations” that I really dont care what the media “thinks” a f1 driver said!

    I think I would be hurt as well if someone called my country “racist” and would do my bit to defend its honor. Alonso never said something like “He deserved it!”, that would have been in bad taste.

    I know what happend was wrong but I think personally that this issue has already been blown way out of proportion. Max is using this very well to reel in some support and now the media is going to use this quote to propel the Anti-Alonso 2008 campaign… Looks like a nice way to start.

  11. openwheel said on 21st February 2008, 15:17

    I think the problem that FA faces is that no matter what he says he is going to look bad. He should restrict all comments about this subject. This way the anti-FA fan club doesnt get more ammunition. He doesn’t want to sound racists and he doesn’t want to upset his Spanich fan base. I do not feel that he is racist but I am not in his circle. I sincerly wish we could like drivers (or dislike drivers) based on who they are not what they are!!

  12. I used to breed dogs – Staffordshire Bull Terriers, actually, the finest breed of all – and I can assure Fernando that there are worse things to be compared to. Dogs are intelligent, loyal (to the death if they’re Staffies) and full of fun. A better companion would be hard to find and, amazingly, there is not a racist amongst them. They love humans.

  13. I feel that Spain is racist in general. But that’s not the point I want to debate on here. The point is – imagine that, perhaps, Alonso is. I’m not saying he is, just making an exercise of imagination here. If he is racist, how the hell is he supposed to deal and act in such circumstances? He has to lie about his personal beliefs to be able to race and be respected.

    I fail to understand the logic behind “racism is disgusting and I will not allow it on my website” and “driver condoning the racist abuse of another is simply unacceptable.”.

    How things are done today forces to the mask behaviour about racism. You have three forms of addressing the problem.

    You have the anti-racists that gather and keep telling each other how bad racism is, and thinking of incredible new ways to punish and embarass racists.
    You have the imbecile racists that make stupid remarks everywhere, making fools of themselves and offending a few.
    You have the racists that lie about their beliefs because they don’t want trouble with the media and the general opinion, but when they’re with “their own”, they keep telling each other how bad anti-racism is, and lamenting the current situation.

    How does that lead to a decent ending?
    I assure that some racists have really good arguments to point out, but their credibility is always undermined by the vast majority of incredibly stupid racists, and the massacring campaign to make the theme a taboo.

  14. Lauda used the word SAUHUND to referrer at Alonso in Hungary episode. SAUHUND is a mix of two Words: SAU (means PIG) and HUND (means DOG). The result of this mixed wods is a slang expression that means “A CLEVER, SMART guy ( must be a correspondent word in English but I don’t know at all!)… Ok, Fernando and the Spaniard media doesn’t speak up german… I understand.

    As you see I don’t speak English too but Fernando doesn’t know how to defend his fellas…


  15. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st February 2008, 17:23

    Addressing the problem is not simply a case of “punishing and embarrassing racists” – if it were the case the Barcelona and Valencia rounds would already have been cancelled, punishing and embarrassing not only the minority of people involved in the abuse but the majority who were not.

    Instead, the FIA are running an education campaign.

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