Motorsport legend faces online backlash over ‘blackface’ promotional video

Former World Rally Championship winner Carlos Sainz has been dragged into a racism row after his karting company posted a promotional video that featured a character wearing ‘blackface’.

Carlos Sainz Karting in Madrid has since deleted the Twitter video, but commenters were quick to condemn the footage, which did not include Carlos Sainz himself.

Blackface refers to when someone, typically with white skin, paints their face to resemble a black person. It was historically used to mock black people and is now widely considered racist and offensive.

Carlos Sainz Karting Blackface Tweet
A screenshot of a character wearing blackface in the Carlos Sainz Karting promotional video.

The video showed ‘three wise men’ arriving at the kart track to collect a gift box that is available to buy through the company’s online store. They are wearing traditional clothing, wigs and beards, but one character is also wearing blackface.

In response to the controversy, prominent motorsport YouTuber Chain Bear tweeted: “You can be racist without realising it. And blackface is still racist even if your country’s relationship with blackface is ‘historically different to [the] US’.

He then continued, calling on fans of drivers to encourage them to ‘be the best they can be’ rather than defend them unconditionally.

Carlos Sainz competed in the World Rally Championship between 1987 and 2005, winning the title in 1990 and 1992. He still competes in elite motorsport, winning the 2020 Dakar rally, while he will also compete in the inaugural Extreme E electric rally series this year.

His son, Carlos Sainz Jr, competes in Formula 1 and has a reputation as one of the most talented young drivers on the grid. He has joined Ferrari for the 2021 season following two successful campaigns with UK-based McLaren.

PA has contacted Carlos Sainz Karting for comment and will update this story if they respond.

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