F1: The war (over racism) that does not stop between Ecclestone and Hamilton

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“Dennis didn’t get in Lewis’s way when he was a kid,” replies the former F1 boss, after the driver was disappointed by the words of his former boss.


Hamilton talks to Ecclestone during his time at McLaren.
AFP

  • F1.
    Official response to Ecclestone’s controversial statements on racism

  • Hamilton.
    Lewis’ demands: “This is a white sport”

When Lewis Hamilton landed in Formula 1 13 years ago, Bernie Ecclestone’s eyes lit up. His business after the end of the eraSchumacher, seemed safe with the arrival of that speedy colored rider who added a plus to the competition. “I have been in motorsports for many years and I cannot remember anyone like him. It is a kind of miracle,” admits the then owner of the ‘Great Circus’, while his compatriot was fighting for the crown withFernando Alonso, his McLaren partner. “We have lost a great hero in Michael Schumacher, but in Lewis Hamilton we have another”, he added in that 2007.

Today, the life of both is very different. Hamilton’s World Cups are out of his pocket (he already has six) and Ecclestone, who has been retired for six years and turned 90 in October, looks at Formula 1 out of the corner of his eye, but does not let his guard down. The British pilot, in addition, continues determined to lead the racial fight in “a sport of targets”. And the former F1 boss is not shy when it comes to responding to the icon of his business and disagreeing with that movement that he is trying to lead within motor sport.

“Ron Dennis didn’t get in Lewis’s way when he was a boy, I took care of him. Willy T -Ribbs- was the first black man to drive a Formula 1 car for me in the 1970s. When I lost my driver’s license , I had a black wire, not because it was black, but because I didn’t care if it was black or white. Now suddenly it’s fashionable to talk about diversity, “Ecclestone said in an interview with the Daily Mail. Adding a little more wick to his dispute with Hamilton.

Because a couple of days before, the hexacampen had used his Instagram account to reply to his former employer, who had assured that “blacks were more racist than whites”. “Damn, I just don’t know where to start in this case. I’m sad and disappointed to read these comments,” his post began. “Bernie is out of sports and represents a different generation, but this is exactly what is wrong: ignorant and uneducated comments that show us how far we must go as a society before real equality can occur,” he wrote.

“Now it makes a lot of sense that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career,” said Hamilton. “If someone who has practiced sports for decades does not understand the deep problems that we as black people experience every day, how can we expect all the people who work with him to understand it?” He asked.

“Blacks must take care of themselves”

A reflection to which Ecclestone wanted to reply in that interview to the Daily Mail. “It is not my fault that I am white or that I am a little shorter than the average man. They called me ‘dwarf’ at school, and I realized I had to do something about it. Blacks need to take care of themselves, “he said, before heading for the demonstrations. “And then there are the people who go to these protests, organized by quasi-Marxists who want to end the police, which would be a disaster for the country. If you asked most of them exactly why they were protesting, they probably would not know.” , continued.

In addition, he discussed his experience with people of color during his working years. “Over the years, I’ve met a lot of white people that I didn’t like, but never a black person that I didn’t like. I’ve been mugged a couple of times, once by three blacks. I ended up in the hospital, but even after that I was never against anyone who was black. I don’t think of Lewis as black, it’s just Lewis for me, “he said.

“If a black or white person is turned down for a job, they should ask themselves why; was it because of their skin color or because they weren’t up to the job? That’s what I mean,” concluded Bernie, Honorary President of Formula 1, who trusts that his words do not close the door of the great prizes.

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