FIA unmoved by Ecclestone's comments
|By Jonathan Noble||Monday, February 18th 2008, 10:25 GMT|
The FIA has said it is unmoved by Formula One's supremo Bernie Ecclestone's stance that its 'Racing against Racism' campaign is 'unnecessary'.
Ecclestone stirred up some controversy over the weekend when he told BBC Radio 5 that he viewed the racist scenes from testing at Barcelona last month as a 'one-off' and suggested that an anti-racism campaign in F1 would only serve to give attention to those causing the trouble.
Those comments have drawn some criticism, however, with the FIA insisting that it has no doubts that it is doing the right thing in its anti-racism drive.
"The FIA has made its position very clear," an FIA spokesman told The Guardian newspaper. "We will not tolerate racism of any kind in our sport and we will take whatever steps necessary to ensure that such scenes of racial abuse are never witnessed again."
Despite Ecclestone's scepticism, a number of Formula One teams have already thrown their full support behind the FIA's campaign - with Honda Racing the latest to signal that they will back it.
Honda's CEO Nick Fry told autosport.com: "We were shocked and dismayed to hear of the racist abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton at the recent test and the further invective which appeared on the internet since.
"The Honda Racing F1 Team is committed to promoting a working environment of equal opportunities and we currently have 24 different nations represented amongst our employees.
"We unequivocally condemn any form of racism and we are pleased to support the FIA's anti-racism campaign."
Ecclestone's comments have also been criticised by Weyman Bennett, of the campaign Unite Against Fascism.
He told The Guardian: "I think these comments are totally unacceptable. There should be a clear message that bigotry and racism are not tolerated in formula one. I think the idea that when people are racist you ignore them is just not acceptable."