Ferrari Stirs Up Controversy at Indian Grand Prix Over Detained Enrica Lexie Guards

The M/V Enrica Lexie

By Will Davies

Ferrari said its Formula One cars will carry the flag of the Italian Navy at the Indian Grand Prix this weekend in solidarity with two Italian naval officers who were detained in India earlier this year after allegedly killing two Indian fishermen.

Scuderia Ferrari has thrown out that old-fashioned idea that sports and politics shouldn’t mix, in a statement describing the decision to carry the navy flag as a tribute to “one of the outstanding entities of our country.”

It said the gesture is also “in the hope that the Indian and Italian authorities will soon find a solution to the situation currently involving two sailors from the Italian Navy.”

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were detained in February on charges of murder, accused of shooting and killing two fishermen off the southern state of Kerala whom they believed were pirates and represented a threat to the ship they were guarding. Mr. Latorre and Mr. Girone were working as security on an Italian-registered cargo ship.

Italy claims the incident happened in international waters. But India hasn’t allowed the two men to leave. They were granted bail in June but remain in India.

The Press Trust of India on Friday quoted Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone as saying the sport is not political and if disagreements surfaced, they should be handled by national associations of the sport, which in India’s case is the Federation of Motor Sports Club of India.

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