Formula 1 reacts after ex-chief praises ‘first-class’ Putin – RT Sport News

Formula 1 has released a statement after former chief executive Bernie Ecclestone sparked a backlash for saying on UK TV he would « take a bullet » for « first class person » Vladimir Poutine.

Ecclestone has often described Putin as a friend since the Russian Grand Prix was introduced to the F1 calendar in 2014.

The British tycoon told ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’ breakfast show on Thursday that he still respects the Russian leader and accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of not doing more to stop the ongoing dispute.

« I would always take a bullet for himreplied Ecclestone when asked if he still considered Putin a friend.

« I’d rather it didn’t hurt, but if it did, I’d still take a bullet, because he’s a first class person. What he is doing is something he believed was the right thing he was doing for Russia.”

Ecclestone doubled down on his criticism of Zelensky when asked by presenter Kate Garraway: « So just to get you straight, you think President Zelensky should have done more to avert this war and that it could have been averted by Zelensky’s actions, not by a change in Putin’s actions?

« Absolutelyreplied Ecclestone, who suggested that Zelensky was more suited to his former acting profession.

« I’m sure Ukraine, if it had wanted to get away with it properly, could have done itadded Ecclestone.

Amid a predictably hostile response after Ecclestone took issue with the presiding Western narrative, Formula 1 moved quickly to announce its opposition to his statements.

« Bernie Ecclestone’s comments are his personal opinions and stand in stark contrast to our sport’s modern values ​​position.“, said the organization.

F1 stripped Russia of its Grand Prix hosting rights indefinitely after the start of the military operation in Ukraine, aligning itself with several other sports federations around the world which have announced sanctions against Russian sport in recent years. month.

Ecclestone also waded into another ongoing row within F1, saying Lewis Hamilton should be “happyto receive an apology from former driver Nelson Picquet after he was accused of using racially insensitive language in reference to the multiple world champion.

“I have known Nelson for a very long time. I was with him a few weeks ago. Not the kind of thing Nelson would say meaning anything bad“, said Eclestone.

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« He probably thinks of a lot of things he says that might upset us or come across as a bit offensive…to him it’s nothing. It’s just part of the conversation.

« People say things…if people are a little overweight or too short like me, I’m sure a lot of people commented on it. If I had heard it, I could have m take care of it myself without too much trouble.

« I’m surprised Lewis didn’t just brush it off. Or, better than that, respond. But he’s now out and Nelson has apologized so everyone should be happy,said Ecclestone, 91.

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