The F1 chief executive was asked about recent episodes in Spain and Brazil, as well as on the internet, involving fans' dislike of new world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Bernie Ecclestone has dismissed as "nonsense" claims formula one has a racism problem.

By the BBC, the F1 chief executive was asked about recent episodes in Spain and Brazil, as well as on the internet, involving fans' dislike of new world champion Lewis Hamilton.

"It's all nonsense," Ecclestone, 78, told the British broadcaster's radio 5.

He said the incidents, including jeers and taunts in Sao Paulo last weekend, and at the notorious Barcelona test earlier this year, were more about fans pushing their allegiances, rather than racist hate.

"In Spain people supported Fernando Alonso and in Brazil they supported Felipe Massa," said Ecclestone.

"I don't think it has anything to do with racism."

He likened the Spanish fans who blacked their faces and screamed obscenities at the Barcelona test to Ferrari's celebrations with "red wigs" a few years ago.

"There were a few people in Spain ... and it was probably meant as a joke more than anything abusive. People look and read things into something that is not there.

"People are entitled to support who they want to support.

"When was (Hamilton) insulted? Do you remember the Ferrari guys that wore the red wigs? People are expressing themselves," Bernie said.

Jaime Martin, F1 editor for the Spanish sports newspaper Marca, backs Ecclestone's view that the Barcelona episode was blown out of proportion.

"It's certain that the insults were racist, but if Lewis was bald, the insults would have related to his baldness," he insisted.

 

 

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