SportF1F1 criticizes Bernie Ecclestone's defense of Putin

F1 criticizes Bernie Ecclestone's defense of Putin

Bernie Ecclestone is back in the spotlight after the uproar caused on Thursday when, in an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he defended the actions of Russian President Putin in his conflict with Ukraine.

Among the 91-year-old’s words were the following statements: “I’d still take a bullet for him [referring to Putin]. I’d rather it didn’t hurt, but I’d still take a bullet.”

Asked why he felt that way, Ecclestone said: “Because [Putin] is a first-class person, and what he’s doing is something he believed was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, he’s like a lot of business people, like me, we make mistakes from time to time, and when you make a mistake, you have to do the best you can to get out of it.

Following his controversial remarks, Ecclestone criticized Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for failing to prevent the war from taking place.

“The other person in Ukraine [referring to the president] was a comedian and it seems that he wants to continue with that profession, because I think that if he had thought about things, he would definitely have made a lot of effort to talk to Mr. Putin, who is a person sensible, and I would have listened and probably could have done something about it.

Ecclestone ‘s comments were quick to draw criticism on social media. At the risk of some perceiving that Ecclestone’s comments are in line with current F1 figures thinking, the series organization came out in a statement that made it clear their views could not be further apart.

“The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in contrast to the position of modern sports values.”

It is not the first time that F1 has had to issue a statement to distance itself from Ecclestone’s controversial statements.

In 2020, Ecclestone sparked another controversy in an interview with CNN when they discussed Lewis Hamilton’s anti-racism fight saying, “In many cases, black people are more racist than white people.” Ecclestone also condemned the removal of statues of slave traders such as Edward Colston in Bristol during those protests.

Then, F1 also issued a statement saying: “At a time when unity is needed to tackle racism and inequality, we completely disagree with Bernie Ecclestone’s comments that have no place in Formula 1 or in the society”.

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