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F1 racing responds to racist incident

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Formula One racing is launching an anti-racism campaign to deal with an incident earlier this month involving Black British racer Lewis Hamilton at Spain’s Circuit de Catalunya race track.

Hamilton, the first Black racer to compete in Formula One racing, was taunted by fans in blackface who yelled racist comments at him as he was testing out the race track on Feb. 1.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA), the governing body of Formula One Racing, has responded to the incident with a new campaign titled “Racing Against Racism,” to be launched in April for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The FIA warned Spanish authorities that any other racist incidents that occur will cause the two races being held in Spain this year to be cancelled.

“The FIA was appalled by the scenes of racist abuse targeted at Lewis Hamilton,” the spokesman said according to ESPN. “Such behavior runs counter to the fundamental principles of equality enshrined in the FIA’s statutes. Formula One is a global, multi-cultural sport and has never encountered such scenes before and will not tolerate them in the future. International motor sport can reach a huge global audience to send out positive messages of racial and sporting equality. We will be encouraging all those involved in motor sport to support our new campaign, from recent world champions to the next generation of potential champions at the grass roots of our sport.”

Hamilton’s racing team, McLaren, says it supports the stand taken by FIA and will back the campaign.

“We fervently hope that the racist behavior of a tiny minority of so-called Formula One fans at a recent Barcelona test was an isolated incident that will not be repeated elsewhere,” the McClaren team spokesman said, according to ESPN. “As we have already made clear, McLaren has raced and tested on Spanish circuits for many years and everyone connected with the team regard the Spanish people with great affection, Lewis Hamilton included.”

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