Fernando Alonso needs to make a public apology on behalf of those disgraceful, so-called Spanish "fans" who subjected Lewis Hamilton to a barrage of obscene racist taunts at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya last week.

Not because it was Fernando's fault, you understand, but because it will take a personality of his status to ensure that this kind of filthy behaviour - so often a feature of Spanish football in recent years - is squeezed out of the F1 spectator areas before it takes root.

I would also urge the FIA to publicly insist that if the track operators do not take some stern measures, then the Spanish GP on April 27 should at the very least be run behind closed doors if not cancelled completely.

The 23-year old British driver was subjected to obscene taunts from the grandstand as he continued his preparations for the new season at the wheel of the new McLaren-Mercedes MP4-23 ahead of the first grand prix of 2008 in Australia on March 16.

"The FIA is surprised and disappointed at the abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton," warned a spokesman from the sport's governing body. "Abuse of this kind is a clear breach of the principles enshrined in the FIA statutes and any repetition will result in sanctions."