So what happened to Racing Against Racism then? It seems the domain is now forwarding to a new EveryRace domain, but at least the FIA have managed to put a website up on this one. As fair as I can see, there has been little official word as to why the FIA’s campaign to inform, educate and protect Formula One from racist behaviour has suddenly had a change of name. But either way, today the FIA officially launched their campaign and spoke a little to the press about how things have been since all this started.
The campaign started after pre-season testing in Spain was interrupted by a few so-called fans who decided to sit opposite the McLaren garage and hurl abuse at Lewis Hamilton. Not only was the verbal, but according to many empty cans were thrown over the barriers onto the circuit and a few even painted their faces black and wrote discriminatory messages on their t-shirts.
The FIA has monitored the measures recommended and implemented since February and has noted that no further such incidents have occurred.
The FIA agrees with the RFEA assessment that the people involved in these incidents were “not at all representative of the thousands of people who enjoy a convivial atmosphere and the spectacle offered by motor sport.”
The FIA and the RFEA are committed to the principle of sport open to all. FIA Spokespoerson.
The sport is all about a driver’s ability and this will never have anything to do with their race or the colour of their skin. Bernie Ecclestone.
While I don’t think this behaviour is widespread throughout the sport, it was disgusting and it did catch not only the eye of McLaren, but also the media and the FIA. So, in an attempt to be pro-active, the FIA pretty much immediately threatened the Spanish circuits at which Formula One tests and races in order for them to clamp down on security, and combined that with a promise to launch an anti-racism campaign.
The EveryRace website is very simple, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any good. Often, simplicity is better. The frontpage has lots of faces of Formula One employees (drivers, press officers, mechanics…) that morph in and out of each other, designed to get the message out that F1 is pretty diverse and includes people from all corners of the planet. Next to this are quotes from some of the more famous names from the pitlane, basically denouncing racism and praising the FIA.
The only way to interact with the website is via a small button at the bottom: Pledge Your Support. Upon clicking you are asked for your name and email address. Once you click to say you’re done, the following message appears:
Thank you for your support.
You are now an integral part of our campaign to fight against discrimination, not just in motor sport, but in society as a whole. My race, your race, our race, everyrace.
And that is it. I wasn’t expecting bells and whistles, but I was expecting something educating at the very least, or a long list of those who have pledged. Still, it is a start, so I won’t judge too harshly to begin with. I will say though that education is key to preventing discrimination, and this is missed on the website. The FIA really need to put up facts or figures or something. Like how many countries are represented by the employees of Formula One, how many countries the sport visits…