New Delhi: India on Friday objected to Formula One team Ferrari's decision to put the Italian Navy flag on their cars at Indian Grand Prix race in an apparent solidarity with two marines facing murder charges in the country, saying this did not reflect "the spirit of sports".
"Using sporting events to promote causes which are not of a sporting nature is not in keeping with the spirit of sports," external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters when asked to comment on what is widely seen as a gimmick here.
In a surprise announcement, a Ferrari team official on Thursday sought to link the decision to race with the flag of the Italian Navy on their cars with the case inolving two Italian marines who allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast February 15.
"First of all, we just wanted to pay tribute to all the Italian Navy which is one of the excellences of Italy and it's just a sign of hope that a solution can be found about the case that involves two Italian sailors."
"Something which has to be clear that we don't want to say anything in one sense or the another. We have utmost respect for the Indian authorities. We just hope that a solution can be found as soon as possible," he said.
Ferrari also posted it on its official website that it will show its support for Italian sailors by racing with military symbols on its cars' livery at the second edition of the Indian Grand Prix, which will be held at the Buddh International Circuit from October 26-28.
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, the two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen, were sent to central prison in Thiruvananthpuram. They were granted bail in June, but were asked to remain on Indian territory till the trial is completed.