Alonso unconcerned by racist abuse of Hamilton

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Fernando 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?

More on racism in F1

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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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. 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.

    1. Put like this it’s much easier to understand him.
      I think he put it down badly but I agree with what he meant.

  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. 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.

    1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

  16. FA lost a great chance to back LH on this important issue. Big mistake, he should drive and not speak to journalists.

    I enjoyed this article about the whole affair

    I just have to say that condemning an entire nation on the actions of a very visible few is the very essence of racism and discrimination.

  17. All I can say to those saying that the race issue has been blown out of proportion is shame on you. I live in South Africa where racism is rife. The only people who would say its no big deal are obviously those who have never had a racist remark hurled at them. All it takes is one person or one remark. Racism is disgusting and should have no place in f1.

  18. Poor Alonso. For days people have been clamouring for him to address the issue and now that he has he has been lampooned. I don’t see any problem with what he said – he has not condoned the incident at all, and has attemtped a measure of reason by quantifying his statements,saying he hasn’t seen the video (and therefore is not really qualified to comment. A few people could take a leaf out of that book ! :) )

    He has also made a good point about this not being a Spanish issue (as the British papers would have us beleive). It is probably upsetting for him to hear all of his fans and countrymen tarred with the racist brush.

    Given how Hamilton has been spouting off about Alonso in the media of recent times, this is actually a gentlemanly response, IMO.

  19. No, Jolene I do not think that we are saying that it was blown out of proportion I think that it happened and I think that it should not happen again. We can not control everyone. No one is downplaying what happened. I think that we feel that the story got bigger legs because of the press. It happened and the story was beaten to death in the press. There are tens of thousands of F1 fans in Spain. I am sure that these individuals are not an example of the entire fan base or even a minority. At least that is what I hope. I think we all agree that race(skin color) has no place in F1. Or in sport or in the world. To me it has no place. I am a business owner and I have never hired (or not hired) someone based on the color of his or her skin. I have always said the best person for the job. I could care less if he or her were purple. They (we) are all people. Sounds idealistic but if more people began to think more idealistic maybe racism would go away like a bad cold!!

  20. I agree completely with Alonso, I think sites like this(and others) should stop making fans appear to be racist by repeatedly running headlines like this to keep users commenting on it.
    There is no racism in F1 just fans who mix well no matter who they support!

  21. At no time have I exaggerated what happened and on several occasions I’ve invited people, especially native Spanish speakers, to help me clarify the facts.

    In the article above I wrote that the abuse “only involved a small number of people.” In this post concerning footage of the testing in Spain I wrote “There isn’t any footage of the taunting that led to the row over racism”. In this article I pointed out and criticised the irresponsible, exaggerated and occasionally downright false reportage given to the story in the British press. My very first article on the subject of racism had to begin with a retraction of an earlier piece in which I had said, “I haven’t seen any evidence of a racial motivation“, once it became clear there had been.

    I have tried to avoid describing them as ‘fans’, because I don’t think that’s what they are.

    You just object to me giving it any coverage at all. But the fact of the matter is that a small number of Spanish spectators shouted racial abuse at Lewis Hamilton at the Circuit de Catalunya.

    There will inevitably be a hundred different opinions on what the reaction to it should be. Many people – perhaps the majority of people – think it should be ignored. I think it should be dealt with. I respect the right of others to hold different opinions. But if you seriously think the coverage I have given it is on a par with the sensationalist garbage in the Daily Star with its hysterical claims of “Nazi death threats” then you badly need to get some perspective.

  22. Kick out those who cause trouble, but a few banners and jingles is not going to end racism anytime soon. Let the organizers of the events handle the racism issue, no need for any concerts.

  23. i agree with your post. Alonso is just sticking up for his fans becasue if they didn’t support him I don’t think anybody would. He’s obviously been rattled by Hamilton because he knows deep down that Hamilton is a better driver and it was shown throughout last year. Alonso lost Hamilton the champonship with his harsh tactics.

  24. This was and still is a “non-story”. I think of the hours wasted at the keyboard over nothing.

  25. Alonso could have spiked the entire affair by saying something along the lines of:

    “It is regrettable that Lewis suffered taunts of a racial nature by a few spectators who are not representative of F1 fans, and especially not representative of my country. These people are not my fan base and I strongly ask all who attend races to respect all drivers.”

    The “story” would have a quick ending. Instead his ambiguous response continues to foster needless discussion and speculation. Can Melbourne get here fast enough??

  26. I agree with George. We need to have Melbourne coming up and soon.

    Also, there are a lot of bird brained people in this world, with barely any cure in sight. So, i guess we should just let the sleeping dogs lie(take a cue Mr. Alonso) and perhaps drivers(both past and present and you know who) should mind their own business. Past ones to have a respectful retired life(keeping shut, except flaming FIA when needed and giving youth some useful advice(mind you)) and present ones could simply try and drive, on the straight and narrow, in order to win (races and world championship(s)).

  27. Ebony Prince
    29th April 2008, 7:19

    Thing is: if there would be more Black F1 fans fools like these four ******** (excuse me French) would never even DARE to come up with dumb action like that. Us Blacks distancing ourselves from certain sports as being "too white" doesn´t help either. If we don´t show up at places, why, of course idiots are going to feel free to take liberties.
    As for racism in sports- it´s not a Spanish problem. It´s a Europe wide problem period

  28. Ebony Prince
    29th April 2008, 7:26

    btw Alonso is a fool. And fools can´t argue.

  29. The Spanish racists are the dregs left of the franco fascist regime, ignorant stupid people with no education living in denial.

    Banning a Spanish grand prix next year would have had the required effect though,

    Racism of any kind should not be tolerated anywhere especially in sport

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