Bernie Ecclestone made a remarkable appearance on the Good Morning Britain program on the ITV channel. Visibly in great shape, the nonagenarian gave his opinion on various social events more or less linked to F1.
And as you can often expect with the former great financier and former CEO of Formula 1, his comments took on more than questionable content. Asked about the Nelson Piquet affair, following the Brazilian’s racist remarks against Lewis Hamilton, Ecclestone obviously took the side of the accused.
“It’s not the kind of thing Nelson would say with bad intentions” launched Ecclestone. “A lot of the things he says may piss us off or may come across as insulting, but to him it’s nothing, it’s just part of the conversation.”
The one who was dismissed by Liberty Media then expressed his incomprehension that Hamilton “didn’t just let it sink in, or better than that, answer”. In reality, the seven-time world champion has chosen an intermediate solution by speaking out about the racism he suffers, which Ecclestone does not seem to endorse.
Putin is ‘a first choice person’
On his way, Bernie Ecclestone did not stop at the defense of Piquet, and also wanted to reaffirm his support for Vladimir Putin, the Russian president who launched an invasion of Ukraine four months ago.
Ecclestone mixed in various comments about Putin, all aimed at boosting the Russian leader’s image. Ecclestone had previously had admiring words for Putin, and again called him a “first choice person”.
“I would take a bullet for him”even launched Bernie, before attempting a flawed justification for the war that Putin launched in Ukraine: “It’s something he thinks just for Russia” he assured, adding that the attacks targeting Ukrainian citizens “were not intentional”.
The Brit compared the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the “times America went to different countries that had nothing to do with it. They like wars because they sell a lot of guns and it’s good for them.”
Finally, he did not stop there and even placed the responsibility for the current war on Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president. Asked if the latter had the possibility of avoiding war, Ecclestone replied simply “yes”.
F1 deplores “a contrast to modern values”
Formula 1 was quick to react to the words of the man who was once its leader, and who had kept the post of Chairman Emeritus, or honorary president, until January 2020, three years after his ouster.
“The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone come from his personal view, and are a stark contrast to the position of modern values in our sport” can we read in this brief press release.
After denying Nelson Piquet access to the paddock yesterday, F1 and the FIA are insisting in a clear way to detach themselves from any nauseating remarks which could be associated with him. This is still not enough, but we can salute this desire to no longer accept the slightest misstep of this type.