FORMULA ONE has spoken out after Bernie Ecclestone defended Vladimir Putin on Good Morning Britain. F1 bosses said the remarks were Ecclestone’s “personal views” and were “in stark contrast” to the modern values of the sport.
It comes after the former F1 boss claimed Putin was a “first-class person” and said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should have done more to avoid the war between the two countries. F1 said in a statement: “The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very stark contrast to position of the modern values of our sport.”
The highly controversial interview on Thursday morning showed Ecclestone defended Putin’s actions in Ukraine and claimed his war was like a failed business mistake. When asked if he still regarded Putin as a friend, Ecclestone said “Yeah, I’d still take a bullet for him.
“I’d rather it didn’t hurt but if it does I’d still take a bullet. He’s a first-class person and what he’s doing is something he believed was the right thing, he was doing it for Russia. Unfortunately he’s like a lot of business people, certainly like me, we make mistakes from time to time.
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F1 was quick to take action against Russia after the invasion with bosses deciding to scrap the Russian Grand Prix after calls from drivers to axe the race. The FIA also banned Russian athletes from using their own flags and emblems and stopped the playing of Russian national anthems at FIA events.
American team Haas also took a tough stance as they dropped their sponsorship of Russian business UralKali. The loss of financial backing also led to the dismissal of driver Nikita Mazepin ahead of the first race.