Auto Culture

Former F1 Chief Ecclestone Opens His Mouth Again


Former Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone opened his mouth again and – as usual – what emerged was not good.

In a recent interview on CNN International, the 89-year-old Ecclestone was asked about whether current Mercedes driver and only Black man in the top level of the sport, Lewis Hamilton’s creation of his Hamilton Commission will have a tangible impact on the sport.

“I don’t think it’s going to do anything bad or good for Formula One,” replied Ecclestone. “It’ll just make people think which is more important. I think that’s the same for everybody. People ought to think a little bit and think: ‘Well, what the hell. Somebody’s not the same as White people and Black people should think the same about White people.’ In lots of cases, Black people are more racist than what White people are.”

When pressed to provide proof of his assertion for the claim, Ecclestone could only say that he had “noticed” it over the years.

Asked whether F1 should have done more to address the issue of diversity and inclusion, Ecclestone said:

“I don’t think anyone bothered about it before. I think it’s an important issue, but it’s been there so long [and] nobody’s done anything. Why didn’t someone do something two or three years ago? They’re too busy trying to win races or find sponsors or something.”

Hamilton had recently alluded to an incident in Spain in 2008 when he was a driver for McLaren and was taunted by fans in blackface. Ecclestone was criticized for not taking the situation seriously, although he later said that he spoke to Hamilton’s father – but never to Hamilton – and concluded that “everything [was] fine.”

“I’m surprised that it concerns him,” said Ecclestone, reflecting on the incident. “I’m really unhappy if he took it seriously. I never thought he did. I didn’t think it affected him.”

F1 – now owned by Liberty Media – immediately issued a statement on its website saying it “completely disagreed with Bernie Ecclestone’s comments that have no place in Formula 1 or society, adding;

“Mr. Ecclestone has played no role in Formula 1 since he left our organisation in 2017, his title Chairman Emeritus, being honorific, expired in January 2020.”

About Alex Bean

Recommended for you