‘Ferrari Ki Sawari’

That’s the name of a Hindi sports comedy film released this year but what Team Ferrari will be doing in India on Delhi Grand Prix is nothing sort of comedy, or is it?

Team Ferrari has announced that they would be racing in Indian Grand Prix with the Italian Navy flag on their cars. Not the country flag but the navy flag. Something that seems they have never done before. And for what? To support the two naval officers who are undergoing trial in India under the charges of murdering two fishermen in India.

If the team wanted to show solidarity(!) to the two accused and wanted to take a political stand, they should have withdrawn their team from the Indian Grand Prix altogether. But to race in India with their navy flag and a clear statement that it is in support of the two murder-accused is a clear challenge to India and the legal system here. And the government and the organizers don’t seem to be bothered (Update: India seems to have officially responded against this by noon today). Ferrari’s decision to fly the navy flag in support of the two accused is also an insult to it’s foreign drivers – Spanish driver Fernando Alonso and Brazilian Felipe Massa. The two drivers now have to carry the political burden imposed on them by their team owners.

The team doesn’t have a moral right to take such a stand in the first place. This is a clear case of murder and a fair trial is being offered to the accused under the Indian law. The way the two accused are being treated in India under trial is the way the VIPs are treated. So what moral right does the Ferrari have to take such a stand? It is not the Italians who are killed but two poor fishermen.

Interestingly, I don’t see many voices (or rather text) rising against Ferrari on this issue in the social media. The urban anti-corruption babies don’t seem to be bothered now about the killing of two fisherman at the southern coasts of India. They were before, because the issue involved an Italian connection (Sonia-Italy-Catholic-Christianity link) but not anymore in their fanfare for Ferrari. The politicians, the Catholic church, all seem to be untouched by this. Compare this to how the Italians are treating their own people, even the murder-accused, and we have some lessons to learn.

If at all any integrity is left in Indians, other than rallying behind demi-gods like Anna Hazare, those of us who can afford or plan to go to watch Delhi Grand Prix should go there and boo the Team Ferrari in the loudest voice possible when they race through the track. It will not be an insult to the drivers. In fact it will be in support of Ferrari’s non-Italian drivers because they have been dragged into this political drama. And it will tell Italy that we not just a bunch of blind fans of a sports brand. The question is, will anyone among us dare do this? It doesn’t take much courage but a little bit of integrity.