Former Formula One boss, Bernie Ecclestone has said he would “take a bullet” for Vladimir Putin and called the Russian President a “first-class person.”
Nearly five months after Russia invaded Ukraine, the conflict continues and thousands of lives have been lost with millions of people now displaced, according to the UN.
However, Ecclestone who has made racial remarks in the past against Formula one star, Lewis Hamilton has now come out in support of Putin.
When asked on British TV show Good Morning Britain if President Putin was still a friend of his, the 91-year-old English billionaire said on Thursday, June 30:
“I’d still take a bullet for him. I’d rather it didn’t hurt, but I would still take a bullet.”
Speaking of the war, Ecclestone said;
“Unfortunately, he’s like a lot of businesspeople, certainly like me, that we make mistakes from time to time and when you make the mistake, you have to do the best you can to get out of it.”
Ecclestone, who was replaced as chief executive of F1 in 2017 after nearly four decades in charge, also criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s handling of the invasion.
“The other person in Ukraine … his profession I understand, he used to be a comedian — and I think it seems that he wants to continue that profession,” he said.
“I think if he’d thought about things, he would definitely have made a big enough effort to speak to Putin, who is a sensible person, and would have listened to him and could have probably done something about it.”
When questioned on the fact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people, Ecclestone replied: “It wasn’t intentional.”
Asked whether Zelensky could have done more to stop the war, Ecclestone said: “Absolutely.”
Formula one has now dissociated itself from Ecclestone’s comments.
In a statement sent to CNN, Formula 1 said: “The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very stark contrast to the position of the modern values of our sport.”
Back in 2009, Ecclestone praised Adolf Hitler for being “able to get things done” — comments he later apologized for. He also said that women should dress in white “like all other domestic appliances.”
In 2020, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, Ecclestone said that “Black people are more racist than what White people are.”
Bernie Ecclestone on #GMB
Putin – “I’d still take a bullet for him” Zelenskyy – “he could have stopped the war” Lewis Hamilton facing racism – “he should get over it” If he dies before me, I will tell you my Bernie story, but it may not come as a surprisepic.twitter.com/2lUN2BBTIQ— nazir afzal (@nazirafzal) June 30, 2022