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Racism row threatens Spanish races

Fans gesture at Lewis Hamilton during testing at BarcelonaSpain's motorsport chiefs have been asked to submit a full report to the FIA on what action they plan to take to prevent a repeat of the racism that marred last weekend's Barcelona Formula One test, with the future of the country's two Grands Prix now hanging in the balance.

The FIA has reacted in the strictest possible way to the events of the test, where fans hurled racial abuse at Lewis Hamilton.

It has demanded a full explanation from Spain's national motorsport association about what happened - and especially what will be done to prevent it occurring again.

The Real Federacion Espanola de Automovilismo (RFEA) must now prepare its response to show that it too is taking the matter seriously.

Although it is not thought that the RFEA has been told what action will be taken if its answers are not satisfactory, it is understood that the situation is being treated gravely by the FIA.

Sources close to the FIA have told that this year's Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona and the European Grand Prix at Valencia are now under threat because of what has happened, so keen are the FIA to ensure that racism is not tolerated in motorsport.

Spanish fans are aiming their abuse at McLaren and Hamilton because they feel that former world champion Fernando Alonso was treated unfairly when he drove for the Woking based team last year.

Recent tests have seen an upsurge in critical banners of Hamilton and McLaren, although the events at Barcelona were evidence of a new intensity to the fans' feelings.

Track organisers had to close access to grandstands and erect barriers in the paddock to try and quell the situation.

The racism row has become big news in Britain, with it making the front page of Britain's The Sun on Monday.

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