Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has attempted to defend a racist suggestion he made over the weekend which drew the ire of F1 champion Lewis Hamilton and left fans scratching their heads.
Ecclestone, who was the Formula One chief executive from 1978 to 2017, said during a bizarre TV that ‘in lots of cases, Black people are more racist than what white people are’.
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His comments were quickly condemned by F1, while six-time driver’s champion Lewis Hamilton was also furious about Ecclestone’s tone-deaf words.
Using an interview with the Mail in England over the weekend, Ecclestone attempted to walk back his comments, insisting he had no problems with black people, and that it was ‘not my fault I’m white’.
“I am not anti-black people - quite the opposite,” Ecclestone said.
“Over the years, I have met a lot of white people I didn’t like, but never a black person I didn’t like.
“If a black person or a white person gets turned down for a job you have to ask why. Was it because of their skin colour, or was it because they weren’t up to the job? That is what I was saying.”
Ecclestone left Formula One in 2017, losing his position as chief executive after F1’s takeover by Liberty media in 2016.
Bernie Ecclestone hits out at protests
Ecclestone then went on to hit out at the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, suggesting many protesters had ‘no idea’ what they were marching for, and accusing them of being ‘quasi-Marxists’.
Most F1 drivers have come out in support of the movement, most notably Lewis Hamilton, but the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Charles LeClerc have also spoken about the issue of police brutality towards black people.
“People go on these marches, organised by quasi-Marxists who want to bring down the police, which would be a disaster for the country,” Ecclestone said.
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“If you asked most of them what exactly they were protesting about they probably wouldn’t know.
“It’s not my fault I am white, or that I am a little shorter than the next man.
“I was called Titch at school. I realised I had to do something about it.
“Black people should look after themselves.”
Ecclestone also said he should not be criticised for his comments because the first black man to drive in Forumula 1, Willie B. Tibbs, drove for him.