• Jul 6th 2009 at 9:29AM
  • 37
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]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      What's wrong with F1? One falls in love with leathers and can't say "yes" or "no"; the other one falls in love with Hitler and can't say "I am sorry.".
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm surprised Ecclestone still has his job. There is no telling as to how fast he would be forced out of his position if this happened in the US. It's seriously time for him and Mosely to go.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @KC, I knew you were being sarcastic....
        • 6 Years Ago
        Despite the fact Hitler was a madman, it doesn't change the fact that he was ambitious, intelligent and shrewd.

        No historian - or true scholar - immediately uses words like "evil", "insane",etc.

        That language is best left in Hollywood inventions for the big screen.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Hitler was a horrible strategist.

        He lost WW2 because he had no clue how to wage a war. In particular, his ego made him choose a highly-inefficient command structure, which is why the allies kicked his arse; nobody in the German military aside from Hitler cound actually make a decision.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Everything's wrong, isn't it. Its 2009, not 1909 and this guy publicly degrades women, Jews and black people.
        He goes on to say that he likes Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Thatcher, because of their strong leadership skills. He's clearly suffering from some kind of a mental degenerative disease.

        Political correctness is one thing but this guy is just absurd mentioning those people as examples of leaders who got 'things done'. No, they got nothing done. They brought destruction and misery to their followers, much like what this guy is doing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      ecclestone is a retarded clown. he obviously knows nothing about Hitler and his regime or Krupp and other companies who abused german and foreign workers 70 years ago. he should go to school again or just shut up. small man - big mouth
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sometimes I question if that man still has all his marbles...
        • 6 Years Ago
        He hasn't had all of them for quite a while now.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Please split from Bernie and Max, F-1. These two are playing you for fools. Some inconvenience in arranging races on short notice is well worth putting up with to be rid of these two clowns. Think before you lock in with them for another stint.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If you study leadership, you almost have to talk about Hilter, Genghis Khan, Alexander III of Macedon, etc.
        • 6 Years Ago
        But of all the leaders to pick, he just has to pick Hitler as the example. He must've known better than that...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd never wish death on anyone but damn...Ecclestone seriously...you need to die. I read his comments a couple days ago on a UK F1 site and was almost tempted to send a tip to Autoblog but I'm glad it found its way here. I cannot believe what such a public figure would say all these things... i dont understand what the F*ck the FIA is doing sitting by watching this guy spew garbage from his rotting mouth.
      • 6 Years Ago
      He's already got Mosley--is he saying he needs ANOTHER Hitler? How many does he need?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anyone who rants about "Zionist bankers" is not to be taken seriously.

      You sound like you idolize Hitler. Max Mosley, is that you?
      • 6 Years Ago
      " many people in my closest circle of friends are Jewish"

      LMAO, I love crap like that. Just like how ignorant people preface racist comments with "I don't mean to sound racist" or "I have a black friend". Who cares what idiots are foolish enough to keep company with him, they have no bearings on the ridiculousness of his comments.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "Ecclestone talked about his preference for "strong leaders," including people like former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher and Max Mosely. No problem there"
      I think there are quite a few people in Wales and the North of England who probably hold Thatcher and Hitler in pretty similar regard..

      Getting back to the point, I think Bernie needs to be a little more careful how he phrases things. If he had said 'F1 needs a dictator like Mosely in charge' (clearly what he implies), then people may have had their own opinion, but he probably wouldn't have caused any offence.

      Bernie saying that he has 'many Jewish freinds,' reminds me of Big Ron Atkinson after his racist faux-pas a few years back. Telling people in the aftermath, 'I have jewish freinds' or 'I signed many black players when I was manager' dosen't make it all ok!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is this guy serious?
      Why is he allowed to continue?
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