Bernie Ecclestone: “In many cases, blacks are more racist than whites,” says former Formula One supreme

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.”

Bernie Ecclestone and Lewis Hamilton shake hands before the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix.
READ: Former NASCAR driver Willy T. Ribbs says organization is 50 years behind schedule but welcomes culture change

‘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.

The 89-year-old man went on to say that changing attitudes toward race will not be “easy,” dismissing the dismantling of statues of slave trade figures, a move Hamilton supported when the Edward Colston statue was demolished in the city. English. from Bristol.

“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. “

Bernie Ecclestone was in charge of F1 for almost 40 years.

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.

In April, billionaire Ecclestone and his wife Fabiana Flosi, 44, announced they were expecting a baby. Ecclestone’s fourth child will be born this summer and when the announcement was made, he said he saw no difference “between being 89 and 29 years old.”

The British is no stranger to controversy.

In 2009, he praised Adolf Hitler for being “capable of doing things,” comments for which he later apologized, while also endorsing Vladimir Putin’s controversial policy towards homosexuals and saying that women should wear white “like all men. other appliances. ”
READ: Lewis Hamilton Attends Black Lives Matter Protest, Organizes Commission to Increase Diversity in Motorsports

‘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.”

READ: Lewis Hamilton ‘Completely Overcome by Anger’ After George Floyd’s Death
In a recent article for The Times, Hamilton alluded to an incident in Spain in 2008 when Blackface fans made fun of him.
Ecclestone was criticized for not taking the situation seriously, though he later said he spoke to Hamilton’s father, Anthony, and that “everything [was] penalty fee.”

“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?”

Hamilton celebrates winning last year's drivers' championship.

Ribbs’ almost advance

As the owner of the Brabham racing team, Ecclestone invited Willie T. Ribbs to try out in Portugal in 1986, an audition for a place on the grid that could have seen the American become F1’s first black driver.

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.