Ferrari flag controversy: Indian govt, fishermen slam F1 team

The National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF) today flayed Ferrari's decision to carry Italian Navy flag on its racing cars during the Indian Grand Prix to express solidarity with two Italian marines facing trial in Kerala for gunning down two fishermen from the state.

The marines of the ship 'Enrica Lexie', Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, are facing trial for gunning down the fishermen off Kerala coast in February last year. 

Ferrari's move has apparently also upset the Indian Government and has not gone down too well with the Ministry of External Affairs.

According to reports, Formula One racing division of Italian auto major Ferrari would be fixing the flag on its cars during the grand prix this weekend to express solidarity with the two marines.

Objecting to it, NFF Secretary T Peter said here that the Ferrai's decision amounted to challenging the fishermen community of the country and also a shame on the nation.

"Allowing the Italian company to openly express support and solidarity to the under trials is a serious lapse on the part of the government and sports authorities of the country. We strongly demand that the company be asked to reconsider this," Peter said.

Fernando Alonso, Felipe massa
Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso (L) and Felipe Massa. Photo: AFP

He said such an act also amounted to "bluffing" the country's fishing community who had been fighting for justice for two of their slain brothers.

Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone has distanced himself from the storm, saying the national association should look into such "political matters".

Ecclestone said as the supremo of the sport, he would leave such political matters on national associations, in India's case, the Federation of Motor Sports Club of India.

"What we'd do, we'd look at the national sporting authority (FMSCI) here to have a look at that...we are not political," Ecclestone said at the Buddh International Circuit here today when asked about Ferrari's decision.

Ecclestone's statement came close on the heels of the Italian outfit's disclosure on its website that they would be paying tribute to the navy as "one of the outstanding entities of our country". Ferrari's statement added that the gesture was "also in the hope that the Indian and Italian authorities will soon find a solution to the situation currently involving two sailors from the Italian Navy".

Meanwhile, Ecclestone seemed mighty impressed with the improved facilities of the BIC, which made its debut as a Formula One venue only last year. "Superb, big, big improvement in everything, fantastic," was Ecclestone's reaction when asked about the BIC.

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