Ex-F1 chief slams Putin’s comments – RT Sport News
Bernie Ecclestone had been criticized for saying he would ‘take a bullet’ for Vladimir Putin
Former Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has walked away from comments he made in favor of Vladimir Putin, after previously saying he would « take a bullet » for the Russian president.
« I’d rather it didn’t hurt, but if it did, I’d still take a bullet. » he said recently. “Because he’s a first-class person. And what he is doing is something he believed was the right thing for Russia.
His comments were seized upon by a voracious British media, especially as large parts of the sports world have made clear their support for Ukraine throughout the Russian military operation in the country.
Ecclestone, 91, said in his comments, which originally aired on ITV’Hello Brittany‘, that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky could have done more to prevent the conflict – a stark departure from statements made elsewhere in the Western sports world.
The interview gained momentum online, prompting Formula 1 to issue a statement in which it distances itself from its former manager, saying: « Bernie Ecclestone’s comments are his personal opinions and stand in stark contrast to our sport’s modern values position.”
And addressing the fury on Sky Sports on Saturday, Ecclestone opted to backtrack and suggest his initial comments went down badly.
“I think a lot of times people go out and say things or do things without really thinking too much. I probably did the same, » he said.
« I can understand people thinking I’m standing up for what he did in Ukraine, which I’m not doing. I was brought up during the war, the last war, so I know what it’s like.
« So I’m sorry for Ukrainians for having to suffer for something they didn’t do. They did nothing wrong. They didn’t start anything. They want to continue their life.”
Ecclestone also declared his opposition to the various sanctions imposed on Russian sports by various federations in recent months, such as the decision by Wimbledon tennis chiefs to ban players from Russia and Belarus from playing at the London event.
« I think it is wrong to prevent Russian athletes, including pilots, from practicing their sport, » he said.
« They didn’t get involved in this in the first place, so they shouldn’t be punished..”
However, despite backing away from his Putin comments, Ecclestone refrained from disavowing his criticism of F1 driver Lewis Hamilton after wading into a row involving the driver, and suggesting the Englishman should « dismissracist comments directed at him online.
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