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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 08:25 GMT
Circuit acts on Hamilton incident
Hamilton finished second in the title race in his debut season in F1
Hamilton finished second in the title race in his debut season in F1
The director of the Barcelona circuit where Lewis Hamilton was racially abused will take steps to stop similar scenes marring April's Spanish race.

The British driver, 23, was targeted by spectators during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Ramon Pradera said: "We have already spoken to the FIA assuring them that we will eliminate all racist elements.

"Although we cannot assure that every fan will behave in the appropriate manner, we will do our best to act."

Reports in a number of Spanish papers said Hamilton was booed and insulted whenever he made his way from the team motor home and into the pits on Saturday for pre-season testing at the Barcelona circuit.

It's a very stressful sport and the competitiveness should only be seen on the track

Ramon Pradera
Director of the Barcelona circuit

Hamilton is regarded as a hate figure in Spain following his public falling out with former Spanish team-mate Fernando Alonso last season. Plus, in Spain he is seen as the reason why Alonso did not win the drivers' title in 2007.

Alonso, a double world champion, complained last season that McLaren were favouring Hamilton and fell out with the Mercedes-powered team when they refused to grant him special status. He now drives for Renault.

Hamilton was left "somewhat sad" by Saturday's events.

But he insisted he still loved the city of Barcelona and said the track was one of his favourites.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) says Spanish circuits risk punishment as a result of the incident, and that any recurrence would lead to "sanctions".

Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton finished second in the drivers' championship last season

However, Pradera claimed coverage of the incident had been "taken out of context" but ensured steps would be taken to ensure no repeat of the scenes when the grand prix takes place on 27 April.

"I was present at all times and we cannot generalise the actions of four of five individuals in comparison with the 50,000 spectators that were here at the weekend," he stated.

"At the time that these situations took place, we reacted immediately by cordoning the area, throwing out those individuals and taking away the banners.

"On Sunday, we didn't see these episodes occur. I spoke to McLaren yesterday and they were satisfied with the measures we took."

He added: "With regards to the official race, we are taking measures with the police because we are aware that we are representing a country.

"I would like to send a message saying that England and Spain share a passion for Formula One, that these great two drivers (Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso) should be allowed to work in peace.

We want to show our support and solidarity to McLaren and especially to Lewis Hamilton

Carlos Gracia
Spain's motorsport supremo

"It's a very stressful sport and the competitiveness should only be seen on the track."

Spain's motorsport supremo, Carlos Gracia, promised to weed out any racism in the country's Formula One fanbase.

"As president of the Spanish Motorsport Federation (RFEDA), I want to state my anger and absolute opposition to these episodes," he said.

"We want to show our support and solidarity to McLaren and especially to Lewis Hamilton.

"The Spanish Federation will not allow these acts to happen again, although we wish to state it came from a minority and that the circuit director at Montmelo took action immediately."

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