McLaren boss Ron Dennis played down the significance of Lewis Hamilton being the first black driver in Formula One, stressing that his race background is not relevant.
Hamilton, who yesterday was announced as Fernando Alonso's 2007 teammate, has often seen his ethnicity being highlighted in the press in a similar vein to golfer Tiger Woods.
But Dennis says that Hamilton's presence in the team is down solely to the young driver's own merits, after enjoying the support of McLaren-Mercedes for the last nine years.
"To be honest it just doesn't register and it never has," Dennis replied when asked about the significance of the colour of Hamilton's skin in Formula One.
"We are very aware of the ability for Lewis' colour to be used as a headline or certainly contained in the first sentence of any of the stories that come out of today, and many of the stories that will be published in the future.
"He has been in the McLaren-Mercedes family for nine years, we don't hide from the fact that he is from a mixed race background, but it doesn't matter. And we certainly want to take a path in which it is not played to or played against: he is what he is, from our perspective, there is not even the angle of 'does this make him more determined?'
"The Tiger Woods label, it does make you smile and you could argue it is a compliment, but it is not relevant to our objective, he is in our team because he has earned the opportunity.
"The fact that he is in the car is because he has earned it and not because there is any negative or positive coming out of his colour, he is just one of us, he has been one of us for nine years, he has earned it and he deserves the opportunity."