We only want solution to situation involving two sailors, claims F1 team

The government has taken umbrage at the insistence by the Formula One team Ferrari to sport Italian Navy flags on its cars at this weekend’s Indian Grand Prix in a gesture of solidarity with two Italian marines facing trial in Kerala over charges of killing two fishermen.

The Ministry of External Affairs said the Italy-based Ferrari team taking part in the race could be seen as insensitive by the families of the dead fishermen. “Using sporting events to promote causes which are not of a sporting nature is not in keeping with the spirit of any sport,” said MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.

A day earlier, the National Fishworkers’ Forum said the government decision to allow Ferrari to carry the Italian Navy flag was an affront to Indian society at large.

Explaining the move to fly the Italian Navy ensign, the Ferrari website says that by doing so, it “pays tribute to one of the outstanding entities [the Navy] of our country, [and] also in the hope that the Indian and Italian authorities will soon find a solution to the situation involving two sailors from the Italian Navy.”

“Something which has to be clear is that we don’t want to say anything in one sense or another. We have the utmost respect for the Indian authorities. We just hope that a solution can be found as soon as possible,” a Ferrari official said.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, marines posted on an Italian merchant ship, had shot dead two Indian fishermen, apparently mistaking them for pirates, in February this year.

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