Former F1 supremo Ecclestone condemned for 'extraordinary' Putin comments


FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Russian Grand Prix - Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia - September 27, 2019 Bernie Ecclestone REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone drew condemnation on Thursday after the 91-year-old defended Russian President Vladimir Putin in a television interview as a "first class person" he would "take a bullet" for.

The Briton, who is no longer involved in Formula One, also told ITV's Good Morning Britain that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy could have ended the Russian invasion of his country by talking to Putin.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the comments were "absolutely extraordinary".

Formula One said in a statement they were "his personal views and are in very stark contrast to the position of the modern values of our sport".

Ecclestone had warm relations with Putin, establishing the now-cancelled Russian Grand Prix.

"He's a first-class person and what he's doing is something that he believes is the right thing he was doing for Russia," said Ecclestone, who has a history of controversial statements.

"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."

Ecclestone noted that Zelenskiy was a former comedian.

"I think it seems as if he 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."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Alison Williams)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In Others

Mixed Martial Arts-Edwards sets sights on UFC belt as British MMA booms
A battle of minds and lungs at the dive chess world championship
RTM to relive glory of Olympians as National Day specials
Nothing is impossible as Javen sets sights on Paris Olympics next
KLSCM back after two-year hiatus
Equestrian-Canadian Laliberte eyes the 'perfect' route to Paris 2024
Hard work pays off as Anas wins towerthon, Serene bags women’s title
Thousands revive Sydney's famous road race after COVID hiatus
Aaliyah skis to four gold medals at Asian Championships
Equestrian-Eventing great Klimke follows in father's footsteps with first dressage medal

Others Also Read