Hamilton ‘sad and disappointed’ at Ecclestone comments

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Hamilton ‘sad and disappointed’ at Ecclestone comments

Formula 1

Hamilton ‘sad and disappointed’ at Ecclestone comments

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Lewis Hamilton has reacted with frustration via social media to controversial comments made by former F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone regarding race and inequality.

In an interview with CNN, Ecclestone praised six-time F1 world champion Hamilton for his public leadership on the issue and his plan to set up a commission with the aim of increasing diversity in motorsport. However, he went on to downplay the effect that commission would have on F1.
“I don’t think it’s going to do anything bad or good for Formula 1,” said the 89-year-old Ecclestone, who was replaced as F1 CEO by Chase Carey following the sport’s takeover by Liberty Media. “It’ll just make people think which is more important. I think that’s the same for everybody. ‘Well, what the hell. Somebody’s not the same as White people and Black people should think the same about White people.’ In lots of cases, Black people are more racist than what White people are.”

Hamilton took to his Instagram feed in response to Ecclestone, posting, “Damn, I just don’t even know where to start on this one. So sad and disappointing to read these comments.

“Bernie is out of the sport and a different generation but this is exactly what is wrong – ignorant and uneducated comments which show us how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen,” Hamilton added. “It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career.

“If someone who had run the sport for decades has such a lack of understanding of the deep rooted issues we as Black people deal with every day, how can we expect all the people who work under him to understand. It starts at the top.

“Now the time has come for change. I will not stop pushing to create an inclusive future for our sport with equal opportunity for all. To create a world that provides equal opportunity for minorities. I will continue to use my voice to represent those that don’t have one, and to speak for those who are underrepresented to provide an opportunity to have a chance in our sport.”

For its part, F1 issued a statement distancing itself from the comments of Ecclestone, who it noted no longer holds any position within the sport after his honorary chairmanship ended this past January.

“At a time when unity is needed to tackle racism and inequality, we completely disagree with Bernie Ecclestone’s comments that have no place in Formula 1 or society,” the statement read.

“Mr. Ecclestone has played no role in Formula 1 since he left our organization in 2017, his title Chairman Emeritus, being honorific, expired in January 2020.”

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