McLaren-Mercedes principal Ron Dennis insists neither the team nor Lewis Hamilton will be remotely distracted by the emergence of a website that has directed racist abuse towards its title challenger.
Reports in the media have flagged up a website, originating in Spain, where posters have been able to leave messages of derision against Hamilton, with a considerable number of posters angling derogatory racial comments towards the first black driver to compete in Formula 1.
It comes ahead of this season's final race in Brazil, where Hamilton needs to finish fifth or higher to become the youngest ever Formula 1 title winner.
However, Dennis is refusing to let the furore cloud their weekend's goals, insisting they will simply 'rise above it' and not allow themselves to be distracted.
“Of course I am aware of the site's existence. I haven't looked at any of the material. To be honest, one of the few things that gives you some sort of an advantage of age – which is unfortunately what I have, age – is that you experience throughout your lifetime all sorts of pressure groups throughout the world who, through freedom of speech, are allowed to express their views. Again, you just have to rise above it. If it is, in any shape or form, designed to distract the team or Lewis, it certainly is not going to do so.”
Going on to speak about what he considers the right course of action to take against the abuse, Dennis insists it is not the task of McLaren to solely tackle what is a wider issue.
“Really it's not for us to take action against these people; in some instances it's governments and in some instances it's organisations that are designed specifically to address these issues in this world but it's certainly not a Grand Prix team.
“It's certainly not McLaren and we refuse to be drawn into something which is widespread through this world in different ways. As I said, it is not going to distract us from our objectives and it's certainly not going to distract Lewis.
Coming in the year that the FIA set up the 'Racing Against Racism' initiative in the wake of the racist activity during pre-season testing, fellow team bosses Stefano Domenicali, Flavio Briatore and Mario Theissen have also come out in disgust regarding the abuse.
“I don't want to give too much publicity to these guys,” Ferrari's Domenicali said. “The more we speak and the more we give them the chance to speak… so I think it's common sense alone because there's no need to say anything. It's not a problem for Lewis, it's a problem for the world, to be respectful of everyone.
“The same position as Stefano and Ron,” added Renault manager Briatore. “It's disgraceful. We're in a sport and we're fighting on Sunday together but it's completely disgraceful.”