For such a distinguished and high profile institution, Formula One looks more and more like some sort of pro wrestling outfit by the day – and much of that circus-like atmosphere can be traced to the sport's leadership. The latest development in the series is Bernie Ecclestone's Marge Schott-esque interview with London's The Times newspaper.
Over the weekend, an interview ran in which Ecclestone talked about his preference for "strong leaders," including people like former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher and Max Mosely. No problem there, but bringing up talk of Adolf Hitler in such contexts is generally frowned upon, particularly when saying things like "he got things done," but "In the end he got lost, so he wasn't a very good dictator."
Like Mosely, Ecclestone has never been a shrinking violet, and he's rarely been one to shy away from controversy. He famously once noted that women should wear white "like all other domestic appliances," a comment he revisited in The Times interview, suggesting that the utterance was a joke, only to follow it up with: "I would love to have a good lady race driver and preferably black and Jewish, too, but they might take maternity leave."
Ecclestone's comments have raised the hackles of a number of Jewish groups and politicians, who have called him "either an idiot or morally repulsive," chiding him for "a complete lack of judgment.
In a subsequent interview with Germany's Bild, the 78-year-old reportedly maintained that the furor his comments inspired were predicated on "a big misunderstanding," saying that: "It was never my intention to hurt the feelings of any community... many people in my closest circle of friends are Jewish." Thanks to everyone for the tips!
[Sources: The Associated Press via ESPN; Motorsport.com | Image: AFP/Getty]