McLaren s Spanish Dilemma

lrg-1510-f1gp03bah0882McLaren will have to think carefully about how to approach the FIA’s Racing against Racism initiative in light of the allegations made against Max Mosley by the News of the World.

The FIA’s anti-racism campaign was a response to the events at Barcelona earlier in the year when a small minority of Spanish fans hurled abuse at Lewis Hamilton during testing.

It is not yet known if the initiative will go ahead given the unfolding drama surrounding the Mosley scandal, which reportedly carried Nazi connotations.

Should the FIA press ahead with the campaign then McLaren would find themselves in a sensitive situation.

Given that the campaign was launched in response to abuse at their own driver and that the team have publicly supported the initiative, any attempts to distance themselves from the launch could be seen as a snub.

Backing the campaign on the other hand could expose both the team and Hamilton to an unwanted media onslaught.

Max Mosley is not expected to attend the Grand Prix which would enable McLaren to endorse the campaign as an FIA-backed initiative rather than a Mosley spearhead.

The FIA were uncompromising with the Spanish motor racing authorities after the controversy and threatened to strip the grand prix from the calendar if measures were not put in place to prevent further racist abuse.

Lewis Hamilton meanwhile has put the events behind him and insists that the Circuit de Catalunya should remain a regular fixture:

“The Circuit de Catalunya is a great track; we can’t ever lose it from the calendar,” enthused the British ace.

“It always sees competitive racing and there are so many enthusiastic fans there all the time which makes for a great atmosphere,” he added.

McLaren head into the European season on the back of a productive four day test at the Barcelona track.

Like most teams down the pit-lane, the Woking concern have been focusing on aerodynamic performance in anticipation of the mechanically demanding Barcelona circuit with its combination of long sweeping corners, straights and heavy braking zones.

“The emphasis has been on the aerodynamic performance, developing downforce, balance and aerodynamic efficiency,” said McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh.

”In parallel we have developed the suspension systems and the chassis. We have come away from three races with no testing where inevitably we discovered vices that were not analysed before the start of the season.

“This period has provided an opportunity for the drivers and race engineers to focus on a bit of set-up work as well for this race.”