‘People don’t go to a Formula 1 race to give a lecture’: Ex-F1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone rekindles feud with Lewis Hamilton as he accuses champion racer of being desperate for attention
Ex-Formula 1 mogul Bernie Ecclestone has rekindled his feud with Lewis Hamilton, after quashing his political protests by saying ‘people don’t go to a Formula 1 race to give a lecture’.
Ecclestone, 92, who previously defended Nelson Piquet’s use of the N-word to the driver in a bizarre TV interview last July, also accused Hamilton of being desperate for attention.
It comes after Hamilton, a seven-time world champion, wondered why “older voices” like his were still given a platform after Piquet’s racist slur.
But Ecclestone has now suggested that instead, “Maybe the older generation isn’t interested in listening to what he has to say.”
The former F1 boss even suggested that Hamilton was bitter about the loss of publicity to the older generations and angry about the loss of publicity.
Lewis Hamilton (centre) kneels and stands on the grid ahead of the race in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in August 2020
Ex-Formula 1 magnate Bernie Ecclestone (pictured) has reignited his spat with Lewis Hamilton as he again blasted the racer’s political protests, saying he is ‘100 per cent against’ it
“Maybe when the older generation makes statements, and some people think they’re correct, he doesn’t like it, because it takes up the space he normally would,” Ecclestone said. The Telegraph.
His latest comments come as F1 drivers are now using race weekends as a platform to raise awareness of political and social issues.
But bosses at the FIA will crack down on “political gestures” next season.
Such gestures included Hamilton wearing a rainbow colored helmet in Qatar to promote LGBT+ rights and fellow driver Sebastian Vettel wearing a ‘Same Love’ t-shirt at the Hungarian Grand Prix to protest the country’s anti-gay rights laws the country.
But Ecclestone said race fans are not turning up “to give a lecture”, adding that while “drivers should have freedom of speech”, it is “a matter of when and how they use it”.
‘It’s wrong. It’s all completely wrong. I am 100 percent against it,” he added.
Lewis Hamilton kneels on the grid in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign for F1 at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi in December 2020
Hamilton previously called Ecclestone (left) “ignorant and uneducated” for his comments
The feud between Ecclestone and Hamilton has been raging for several years. In 2021, Ecclestone claimed the Black Lives Matter movement was using Hamilton for his money – criticizing ‘this stuff of kneeling before races’.
But Hamilton had previously labeled him “ignorant and uneducated” for his claims that there is no racism in the sport.
But Ecclestone insisted Hamilton “misunderstood” his opinion, but said he was “entitled to his opinion” about the need for more chances.
Following Nelson Piquet’s use of the N-word in a row with Hamilton, Ecclestone doubled down on his defense of the former champion last summer.
Speaking to Piers Morgan on his TalkTV show Uncensored, he said the racial slur was “the same thing” as calling someone fat.
Morgan told him, “Bernie, there’s no equivalent between someone calling a black the N-word and saying you’re undersized—there’s no equivalent, see?”
Ecclestone replied, “It is terribly rude to say that someone is undersized or fat. For example, if they’re black and they say you’re fat, it’s probably the same thing.’
Asked for a response to Hamilton’s comments that people like him shouldn’t have a platform, he said: ‘Complete rubbish. Because when he talks about me, he has to think a little bit.
“His dad and I had been talking about doing business for a while. I’m not a racist, quite the opposite to be honest. His comments are crazy.’