Notably from Lewis Hamilton, a six-time world champion and the first and only black driver to compete in F1, who has been a powerful voice after Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last month.
For his part, Ecclestone, who was replaced as Formula One CEO in 2017 after nearly four decades in charge, praised how Hamilton has championed equality.
“Lewis is a little bit special,” Ecclestone, who currently has an advisory role with F1 as president emeritus, told CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies.
“First, he is very, very, very talented as a pilot and now he appears to be extremely talented when he is on his feet and able to make speeches.”
“This latest campaign he’s doing for blacks is wonderful. He’s doing a great job and it’s people like that, easily recognizable, that people listen to.”
‘Completely stupid knocking down all these statues’
However, Ecclestone does not believe that incentives like the Hamilton Commission have a tangible impact on the sport.
“I don’t think it will do anything good or bad for Formula One,” he said.
“It will just make people think it’s more important. I think it’s the same for everyone. People should think a little bit and think, ‘Well, what the hell. Someone is not the same as whites and blacks should think. same for whites. ”
“In many cases, blacks are more racist than whites.”
CNN challenged Ecclestone over the claim and was unable to provide any concrete evidence for the unsubstantiated claim beyond saying that he had “noticed” it over the years.
“I think they need to start being taught at school,” Ecclestone said.
“So they grow up without having to think about these things. I think it’s completely stupid to knock down all these statues. They should have left them there. It takes the kids at school to look and say why they are there and what the people did and what what they did was wrong. “
During his time at the helm of F1, Ecclestone brought more races in new regions and attracted new interest in the sport.
The season before Liberty Media’s $ 8 billion acquisition in 2017 attracted 400 million unique viewers in 200 territories. The 2016 championship had 21 races in 21 countries and five continents.
The British is no stranger to controversy.
‘No one has done anything’
Reigning world champion Hamilton recently referred to F1 as a “white-dominated sport,” while the governing body has just launched the #WeRaceAsOne initiative that seeks to combat the challenges of Covid-19 and condemn racism and inequality.
Subsequently, a task force was created to increase diversity and inclusion in F1, along with a foundation to help fund internships and internships for underrepresented groups.
When asked if F1 should have done more to address the issue of diversity and inclusion, Ecclestone said: “I don’t think anyone has ever worried about that before.”
“I think it’s an important topic, but it’s been there for so long [and] No one has done anything. Why did someone not do something two or three years ago?
“They are too busy trying to win races or find sponsors or something like that.”
“I’m surprised you are concerned,” Ecclestone said reflecting on the incident, adding that he never spoke to Hamilton himself, who was driving for McLaren at the time.
“I’m really unhappy if he took it seriously. I never thought it would. I didn’t think it would affect him.”
“I don’t know why people did all of that anyway. Was it against him personally or what they thought?”
Ribbs’ almost advance
In a recent interview with CNN Sport Davies presenter Ribbs, who competed on IndyCar and NASCAR, he spoke of Ecclestone in brilliant terms.
“I don’t even know if Formula One would exist now if it weren’t for Bernie Ecclestone,” Ribbs said.
“He wanted me in the car. He wanted me in Formula One […] Its sponsors at the time were Italians. They wanted Italian drivers, and I totally respect that. I do not have any problem with that.
“My goal was to be in Formula One, but Bernie Ecclestone made a statement because Bernie Ecclestone put the first man of color, first black man, in a Formula 1 car.”
It is with the determination to increase diversity within the sport that the new F1 season begins.
The first race of the late start to the season will be in Austria on July 5, where Hamilton begins his quest for a seventh world title that would see him tie for Michael Schumacher’s record.