Ferrari to race with flag on car, FMSCI is okay with it

Greater Noida: Unfazed by the controversy, F1 team Ferrari will race at Sunday’s Indian Grand Prix with the Italian Navy flag on its car as India`s motor sports body is convinced that it was not a political move.

Vicky Chandhok, the President of the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI), was asked by the Sports Ministry this morning to verify if Ferrari's motive was political.

"I was asked to see if the flag is painted in military colour. I verified it, it wasn't and replied to the Ministry. It's just a sticker. When we are convinced that it's not a political move why should I ask them to remove it (flag) from there," Chandhok said.

It caused a huge furore when Ferrari put the flag on the car in support of the two murder-accused Italian sailors, who are facing trial in Kerala.

F1 boss Bernie Ecceleston had refused to be drawn into the controversy and had said that it was for the National Sports Association to sort out.

The External Affairs ministry had disapproved Ferrari's decision when official spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that using sporting events to promote cause which are not of a sporting nature is "not in keeping with the spirit of sports".

FMSCI also issued a statement saying Ferrari have clarified that their move will not have any "political implications".

"The FMSCI would like to maintain that the FIA code of motorsport is apolitical and non-religious and the FMSCI will not permit motorsports to be politicized in any manner. Stefano Domencialli, Team Principal Scuderia Ferrari, has confirmed that their initiative of carrying their national navy flag does not have and should not be seen as having any political implication," the statement said.

FMSCI also said that it "firmly believes that carrying their national navy flag will not have any effect on the case pending before the Indian Courts. The FMSCI will not permit any attempt to subvert the process of justice by politicizing the event."

Ferrari also issued a statement, saying that, "The Italian Navy's national flag on the Ferrari race cars at the Indian Grand Prix is there as a tribute to one of our country’s outstanding institutions.

"With all the respect due to the Indian Authorities, Ferrari wishes to make it clear that this initiative does not have, nor should it be seen as having, any political implication," the statement said.

Chandhok and Domencialli were also seen shaking hands in a picture issued by FMSCI.