Ferrari insists it is not trying to play partisan international politics by wearing the flag of the Italian navy on its F1 livery in India this weekend.
The famous Italian team had announced that adding the flag to its livery this weekend is “in the hope that the Indian and Italian authorities will soon find a solution” to a situation involving two Italian sailors. Media reports said the sailors were being held by Indian authorities on murder charges, following the fatal shooting of two Indian fisherman mistaken for Somali pirates.
So far, the regional Indian governed has refused to agree a settlement while Rome pushes for the marines’ return for prosecution in Italy. In return, Italy has recalled its envoy from New Delhi, confirming its “strong displeasure” with India’s handling of the incident.
Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi welcomed Ferrari’s support, and was quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport: “This shows our naval guards that they have the support of the entire nation.”
Ferrari’s gesture, however, is controversial, especially given the FIA statute prohibiting “racial, political or religious discrimination” in Formula One.
A team spokesman told the Indian Express newspaper: “Something which has to be clear (is) that we don’t want to say anything in one sense or the another.
“We have utmost respect for the Indian authorities. We just hope that a solution can be found as soon as possible,” he said.