Calcutta/Greater Noida: Formula One team Ferrari on Thursday decided to show their support for Italian navy personnel being held in India by racing with military symbols on their cars' livery at the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) here.
Two navy personnel were imprisoned in India in March, and later bailed, following the shooting of two fishermen mistaken for pirates allegedly trying to attack an oil tanker the Italians were protecting.
The team said on their website ferrari.com: "Scuderia Ferrari will carry the flag of the Italian Navy on the cars driven by Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa in this weekend's Indian Grand Prix.
"In doing so, Ferrari pays tribute to one of the outstanding entities of our country, 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."
The Ferrari officials at the BIC, however, tried to play down the whole issue saying the team was only trying to play the role of peacemaker. "We did not do it with a confrontational attitude...All we hope that a solution can be found about the case which involves two Italian sailors," the head of motorsport press office, Luca Colajanni told The Telegraph.
When asked, an official of the Indian Grand Prix tried to stay clear of the controversy. "This is an area where we have nothing to say," he said. "We generally react when somebody has to say something on the organisation or the track. On any other matter, we keep away from it."
Matteo Bonciani, the FIA head of communication, came up with a similar reaction. "I have nothing to say on this subject," was his reply.