- Bernie Ecclestone, the former chief executive of Formula One, has claimed in an interview with CNN that black people are “more racist” than white people.
- Asked to qualify the statement, the 89-year-old said that it was something he had just “noticed” over the years. He then provided no more evidence for his claim.
- Ecclestone also said he didn’t think Lewis Hamilton’s experiences of racism, particularly an incident where he was taunted by fans wearing blackface, affected him.
- Hamilton called Ecclestone’s comments “sad and disappointing,” according to the BBC.
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Bernie Ecclestone, the former chief executive of Formula One, has claimed that Black people are “more racist” than white people.
He also said that he did not think Lewis Hamilton’s experiences of racism had affected the driver.
Ecclestone, who was head of the organisation between 1978 and 2017, made the comments while speaking with CNN about the The Hamilton Commission, a body which Hamilton announced earlier this month will be launched to help increase diversity in motorsport.
“I don’t think [the commission] is going to do anything bad or good for Formula One,” Ecclestone, 89, said.
“It will just make people think which is more important. I think that’s the same for everybody. People ought to think a little bit and think: ‘Well, what the hell. Somebody’s not the same as white people and Black people should think the same about white people.’
“In lots of cases, Black people are more racist than what white people are.”
Asked to qualify the statement, Ecclestone said that it was something he had just “noticed” over the years. He then provided no more evidence for his claim.
Earlier this month, Hamilton, a six-time World Champion, opened up about his experiences with racism in the sport in an emotional column in The Sunday Times. In it, the 35-year-old said he was taunted by fans in blackface during the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix.
“I’m surprised that it concerns him,” Ecclestone said when asked about the incident. “I’m really unhappy if he took it seriously. I never thought he did. I didn’t think it affected him.”
Later in the interview, Ecclestone suggested that it is not Formula One’s responsibility to tackle racism.
“I suppose the people that need to do that are the viewers. For the number of people that are directly involved in sport such a small number of people can do very little,” he said.
“I’m surprised if anyone in Formula One, certainly the teams and the people like the promoters, have any concern about this. It’s not a good excuse not to be concerned but everybody’s too busy doing things that they have to do day to day to think about something that doesn’t directly affect them.”
Hamilton hit back at Ecclestone’s comments, calling them “sad and disappointing.”
“Bernie is out of the sport and of a different generation,” he said, according to the BBC. “But this is exactly what is wrong – ignorant and uneducated comments which show how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen.
“It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career.
“If someone who has run the sport for decades has such a lack of understanding of the deep-rooted issues we as black people deal with every day, how can we expect all the people who work under him to understand? It starts at the top.”
Formula One also issued a statement saying it “completely disagreed with Ecclestone’s comments that have no place in Formula 1 or society.”
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