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Formula 1 News - Feb, 2008
'I'm not racist', Alonso fan protests

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Feb.8 (GMM) A Spanish fan at the centre of the racism storm involving Lewis Hamilton insists he did not intend to offend the McLaren driver or trigger an international furore.

Toni Calderon, one of the Fernando Alonso supporters who donned black boot polish on their faces and wigs in the Barcelona grandstands last weekend, has told a Spanish newspaper that the stunt was meant to be funny.

"We dressed up to celebrate Carnival," the daily Publico quotes him as saying.

"We wanted to give a touch of humour to Montmelo and have a laugh at the father of Hamilton, who is seen at all the races. We didn't have the slightest intention to laugh at the British driver for the colour of his skin or to offend anyone," Calderon added.

"The people on security at the gate started laughing and let us pass. In fact half the people who saw us thought we were fans of Hamilton. Lots of people took pictures of us."

Calderon, whose friends also wore the black costumes with the words 'Hamilton's familly" (sic) crawled on their t-shirts, says he is "not a racist".

"It has made me ashamed to appear like that in the British press," he explained.

"Also, as I am in the middle of the photo, I seem like the protagonist. This has angered me.

"If I had known that this was going to happen, I would never have dressed up. We haven't done anything wrong. I would not have any problem to explain it personally to McLaren and Lewis, who is a star."

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