Bernie Ecclestone is no stranger to controversial comments, but his latest statement defending Russian president Vladimir Putin shocks fans.
Last week the world woke up to the upsetting news of Russian forces invading Ukraine, starting a war as a result. The assault was met with widespread sanctions on the nation from most countries in the West.
Even F1 took a stand against Putin and Russia, by openly showing their support towards Ukraine. They went forward with the cancellation of the Russian GP, and yesterday the FIA announced that drivers from the country had to race under a neutral flag.
However, comments made by former F1 supremo Ecclestone have left some fans baffled. The 91-year old spoke to Times Radio, sharing his thoughts on the Russian invasion. He started by describing Putin as an ‘honorable’ man who got things done.
Bernie Ecclestone supporting and defending Vladimir Putin was never a surprise tbh they are both trash💯💯🤷🏿♂️🤷🏿♂️
— James Kurt 🕹🎮🇬🇧🇳🇬#LH103#44 #BlackLivesMatter (@JamesKurt_44) February 26, 2022
“As a person I found him very straightforward and honorable,” he said. “He did exactly what he said he was going to do without any arguments.”
Ecclestone and Putin share a very old friendship. This isn’t the first time the Brit has spoken highly of the Russian president, but the circumstances under which he has, surprised many.
The Russian GP may still go ahead even though F1 said it won’t, insists Bernie Ecclestone
F1 made the decision to not race in Russia this year. Red Bull’s advisor Helmut Marko made it clear that no one in the F1 paddock wanted to travel to the country under such circumstances.
Despite the removal of Sochi Autodrom from the calendar, Ecclestone feels that there’s a chance we may see the race go ahead.
“I think it depends very much on what the exact situation is between Ukraine and Russia,” he said. “It’s not going to make any difference. If there is a race in Russia to anything else that has happened in the world.
Former chief executive of the Formula One Group Bernie Ecclestone said Vladimir Putin is ‘very straightforward and honourable’.
— Times Radio (@TimesRadio) February 25, 2022
“I suppose it is the people who are engaged in the event who would decide on it. Because maybe other people think it was the right thing for Russia to do. So how can anyone else judge exactly what is happening today?”
Back when Ecclestone said he would “give his life” for Vladimir Putin
Ecclestone defending Putin is not new news for ones who have followed him over the years. The Russian GP’s addition to the calendar in 2014, was due to their good friendship in the first place.
In an interview in 2016, the ex-F1 boss went as far to say that someone like Putin should be ‘ruling over Europe‘. “We should get rid of Brussels and he should just be in charge,” he said. “He should be running Europe.”
Ecclestone went on to call him a ‘good man’, who only cares for his people and would give up his own life to save his.
“If someone had a machine gun and was prepared to shoot Putin, I would stand in front of him,” the 91-year old once said. “Because he’s a good guy. He’s never done anything that isn’t doing good things for people.”