Another day, another debacle that sees an aging human of single-seater motorsport say something offensive. This time instead of a former world champion, it’s ex-F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone who has crawled out from under a rock to sing the praises of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Ecclestone was speaking on British morning news show Good Morning Britain earlier today. According to The Guardian, he told hosts Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard that he would “take a bullet” for Putin if he needed, but added that he’d “prefer if it didn’t hurt.”
The 91-year-old continued: “He’s a first-class person. What he’s doing is something that he believed was the right thing he was doing for Russia.
“Unfortunately he’s like a lot of business people, certainly like me, that we make mistakes from time to time and when you’ve made the mistake you have to do the best you can to get out of it.”
Right, so Russia’s decision to invade an entire country, a move that has led to more than 3,400 civilian deaths in Ukraine was nothing more than a bad business decision? OK, Bernie.
What’s more, Ecclestone doesn’t even think those deaths are down to Putin’s actions. Instead, they’re as a result of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who he is keen to point out used to be a comedian that “wants to continue that profession.”
He said: “I think if he’d have thought about things, he would definitely have made a big enough effort to speak to Mr Putin, who is a sensible person and would have listened to him and could have probably done something about it.”
It really is pretty unhinged, even by Ecclestone’s particularly low standards.
Understandably, Formula 1 has sought to distance itself from Ecclestone and his latest insane ramblings.
The sport, which announced the cancellation of the Russian Grand Prix following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, released a statement outlining that his views did not align with the sport.
The statement, shared with Reuters, read: “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.”
Many of us have come to expect this sort of bat-shit behavior from Ecclestone in recent years. It feels like every few months he’s rolled out to say something unhinged, before he crawls back under a rock until the next high-profile F1 race.
Now, at least F1 is making an attempt to distance himself from the former supremo, who left the sport following Liberty Media’s buyout in 2014. Maybe this could be the last time we have to endure Ecclestone’s crazed ramblings.
Well, at least we can all dream that way.