Former Formula One executive Bernie Ecclestone sparked a variety of comments recently when he said that "Black people are more racist than White people." F1 released a statement saying that the organization disagrees with the comment, which prompted a response from Ecclestone. He said that it's not his fault "that he's white."
Speaking with The Daily Mail UK, the former exec said that F1 could try to ban him, but he will use his connections to continue attending events. Ecclestone also said that he's "not anti-black." He cited his relationship with driver Lewis Hamilton as one reason. Ecclestone said that he considered going into business with Hamilton's father and that he "would not have considered it" if he was racist.
"It's not my fault I am white, or that I am a little shorter than the next man. I was called Titch at school," Ecclestone said to the Daily Mail UK. "I realized I had to do something about it. Black people should look after themselves. [Former McLaren boss] Ron Dennis didn't stand in Lewis' way when he was a boy. He looked after him.
"Willy T [Ribbs] was the first black man to drive an F1 car, for me, in the Seventies," Ecclestone continued. "When I lost my driving license, I had a black driver, not because he was black, but because I didn't care whether he was black or white. Now it's suddenly fashionable to talk about diversity."
Hamilton heard the most recent comments from Ecclestone, and he responded. The Mercedes driver, who has been pushing for racial equality, expressed disappointment. He used Ecclestone's statements as further evidence that there is still work to be done around the world.
"So sad and disappointing to read these comments," said Hamilton. "Bernie is out of the sport and of a different generation. But this is exactly what is wrong — ignorant and uneducated comments which show how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen. It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career. Now the time for change has come."
Hamilton, the first and only Black driver in F1, recently created the Hamilton Commission to increase diversity across motorsport. He previously faced issues of racism during his career, including an incident during the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix when fans wore blackface. They also put on shirts that read: "Hamilton's Family."