2016's Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg and former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone are both wealthy, retired men. As such, you can imagine the great things they say. Bernie says that he loves dictators, that Donald Trump is doing a killer job because he’s kept “those people” out, and then Nico Rosberg favorably compares Ecclestone to Nelson Mandela. Strap in.
Rosberg has a lot of time on his hands now that he’s out of F1, so he decided to do what every other dudebro with nothing better to do these days is doing and started a podcast. His first guest, who also has plenty of time on his hands, was Bernie Ecclestone, who was killing the sport not too long ago before it was bought out by Liberty Media.
Bernie, who has said lots of reprehensible things in his career, continued to say reprehensible things. That’s not really “news” anymore. What is absolutely bizarre about listening to this thing, however, is how much it feels like a weirdly shitty version of Between Two Ferns.
Let me put it this way: every so often, we here at Jalopnik come up with dumb ideas beyond our usual dumb blogs. Some of them are brilliant and never happen mostly due to money or logistics issues (example: an hour-long Jalopnik infomercial to be broadcast, once, solely on New York City public access TV, and never again). Some of them are dumb and never happen because they’d be so bad, like if we did a “parody” interview with Bernie Ecclestone.
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But this, this conversation between Rosberg and Ecclestone, is beyond any crap parody we would do. It’s almost, but entirely unlike, art.
It begins, as all normal conversations do, with six minutes of praise for Ecclestone. His skills as a team owner, as a businessman, as a “negotiator,” all come up, with Rosberg specifically recalling a fondness for a phrase that Ecclestone uttered.
“I wonder if maybe we can get one or two thoughts for everybody on what made you such a great negotiator? One quote that I remember from you is, ‘when you get the girl in the room, after that, everything is possible,’” Rosberg exudes. Could Ecclestone help people “get the girl into the room?”
(If you’re insanely curious but don’t want to listen to the whole 37-minute podcast, Ecclestone says that you must get people to trust you. After that, presumably, Ecclestone thinks that “everything is possible,” with, uh, the, uh, “girl.” This whole section of the podcast should be boring and plain but somehow the two of them make it extremely weird.)
Rosberg, who I guess could be forgiven for not following up as he’s not a journalist, and as a professional athlete is probably trained specifically to shut the fuck up and not ask questions of his overlords, sets Ecclestone up for softball questions, such as asking if money made Ecclestone happy. But Ecclestone goes on to say that his entire business career wasn’t done so much for the money, as it was for the pleasure of meeting lots of friends.
So it was just the challenge of the fight? Rosberg asks.
“And meeting nice people,” Ecclestone says. Okay.
There’s more weird blather about how the two of them—wealthy retirees—maintain a work/life balance, Ecclestone’s love of dictatorship (seriously, that’s not a joke), and finally, our big boy President, Donald Trump.
“You’re a fan of Trump, for example, in that sense as well? He’s a bit of a dictator, and he gets stuff done, in your words, right? ” Rosberg says.
“Trump is the best thing that’s happened to the world in the last few years,” Ecclestone responds.
“The best thing?” Rosberg asks.
“He’s woken everybody up,” Ecclestone tells us. “You know he’s done things, if there was a board (which there should be in America I suppose), would never do what he’s done.”
“What’s the best two things he’s done so far?” Rosberg asks again.
“I don’t think there’s anything really wrong,” Ecclestone replies.
“Well the best thing he’s done so far, which he’s manage to implement and get the job done?” Rosberg presses.
“Well he’s sorted people out, people coming into his country that shouldn’t be there,” Ecclestone says. “And saying, ‘this shouldn’t happen to other countries.’”
“You think that’s the best message, thing he’s done?” Rosberg responds.
“One of the best things, yeah,” Ecclestone says. Ecclestone goes on to say that Trump was not impressive when they met in person years ago.
“But now that we’re on the topic of life, Nelson Mandela, you also met him,” Rosberg naturally segues away.
Ecclestone goes on to tell an anecdote about the South African leader and famed anti-Apartheid activist, with the takeaway being that “white people aren’t so bad” in Ecclestone’s words, which is... one banger of a takeaway from a meeting with Nelson Mandela.
Rosberg goes on to note Mandela’s “ability for compassion” which was his strongest asset, “which is what a lot of people say about you as well.”
“You love helping everybody who is dear to you and who is around you,” Rosberg says to the man who not 10 minutes earlier was praising the cause of fascism.
They go on to talk about F1 overtaking, how nice it is to sit on a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean, how nice it is to drop Ecclestone’s name to get tables at restaurants, and then how Fernando Alonso has no social skills and that’s what his biggest problem is, the no-social-skills thing.
Here’s a link to the podcast, if you really insist.
[Hat tip to Axis of Oversteer]