Bernie Ecclestone has revealed Lewis Hamilton has not spoken to him since his comments on racism but admitted he is set to go into business with the driver’s father.
Ecclestone was publicly condemned by Lewis Hamilton, 35, after the F1 mogul claimed, ‘a lot more black people were more racist than white people.’
The 89-year-old was accused of suggesting the issue of racism was being ‘overblown.’
In an interview with fledgling station Times Radio, the Formula One mogul denied a rift with Hamilton but said they had not spoken in the wake of his controversial comments.
Asked by host John Pienaar if he understood why six-time world champion Hamilton was ‘upset’ by his comments, Eccleston remarked: ‘Lewis, you would expect him to say something.
‘He is black, that’s it, so he has to defend that I suppose; but I think a lot of people will understand what I’ve been talking about.’
He also revealed he had made a U-turn on investing in Hamilton’s father Anthony’s rowing machine business.
The 89-year-old, who is expecting his fourth child with partner Fabiana Flosi, 44, also revealed he wouldn’t be changing nappies, adding, ‘it’s not my sort of job, I shouldn’t do it.’
Ecclestone was publicly condemned by Lewis Hamilton, 35, (pictured together at the Grand Prix of Bahrain in 2015), after the F1 mogul claimed, ‘a lot more black people were more racist than white people.’
Times Radio host John Pienaar asked if Eccleston could, ‘understand why Lewis Hamilton would be upset with you about [his comments on racism]?’
Times Radio host John Pienaar asked if Eccleston could, ‘understand why Lewis Hamilton would be upset with you about that?’
Ecclestone replied: ‘I can understand it being overblown. It wasn’t me that was making it overblown.
‘Lewis, you would expect him to say something. He is black, that’s it, so he has to defend that I suppose but I think a lot of people will understand what I’ve been talking about.’
In recent days Hamilton said there are serious problem of ethnic minorities being underrepresented in the sport, and subsequently set up a commission to examine the issue.
Ecclestone added: ‘We haven’t had a bust up – Lewis and I haven’t spoken since all this started. He probably is in a position to decide whether I’m ignorant or not because I’ve had the same sort of education as him, so I think we’ve got one thing in common if nothing else.’
He revealed he had exchanged messages with Hamtilton’s father Anthony about investing in his rowing equipment business, an offer the mogul had previously turned down.
Ecclestone was asked about the lack of black F1 drivers and asked if he regretted not encouraging more diversity in the sport.
The 89-year-old (pictured in January at the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in Kitzbuehel, Austria), is expecting his fourth child with partner Fabiana Flosi, 44
Ecclestone said: ‘[Lewis] is saying it because it’s a fact. You would have to be a complete halfwit to look at the people involved in F1 and see how many black people are involved.
‘I was the first person to put a black guy in a Formula 1 car probably 30 years ago, a guy called Willy T. Ribbs.
‘There have been plenty of opportunities. If today a very talented, quick, black driver turned up at Ferrari or whatever – they’ve just signed a guy up now – I guarantee if they thought the guy was as talented as Lewis, they would be happy to take him.
‘The trouble – forget about black people – is lots and lots of white English guys, Chinese, or whatever, haven’t had the opportunity when they come into Formula 1 they have to bring sponsorship with them.
‘If people have found a black guy that’s talented and wanted to sponsor him they could’ve done.
‘The only regrets I’ve got is when I owned Brabham F1 team, which I did for 18 years, we were always looking for sponsors so I was more than happy if I could’ve found a black guy that was capable of being able to deliver – and that’s the reason I gave Willy T. a test, for that reason.’