Jul.31 - Formula 1 should not be involved "in racism or politics in general", according to the sport's former chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

Since the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racism demonstrations the world over gained steam in the wake of George Floyd's death, the issue spread even to the F1 paddock.

It has been championed in F1 by six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who on Thursday received an apology from Grand Prix Drivers' Association director Romain Grosjean for advocating that the 'take a knee' gesture before races be axed.

"Seven or eight drivers were not happy to carry on the ceremony," the Haas driver explained. "I was speaking for those drivers as a director of the GPDA.

"Now thinking about it, it was probably the wrong thing to do," said Grosjean. "It was a good chat with Lewis. I said sorry and Lewis put some good arguments, and I did too."

The apology followed a spate of abuse he received on social media, including accusations that the Frenchman is racist.

"I wasn't very happy about being treated like that," said Grosjean, who was not among the drivers who elected to stand rather kneel.

One of the drivers who stands, however, is Carlos Sainz, who said at Silverstone: "Freedom allows me to express my position in a way that suits me, my culture and my principles.

"And I expect everyone in the paddock to respect my opinion."

It is an awkward situation for Formula 1, whose former position was to separate politics from the sport.

Kevin Magnussen also says the last few races have been awkward for him.

"I am obviously against racism, and it is good that we are drawing attention to it," he is quoted by BT newspaper. "Of course I want to be part of that, but I do not want to be political.

"But it is difficult as an athlete and a public figure to know how what you do like that is received. It is obvious that we are all in favour of stopping racism.

"But on the other hand, I do not want to support political organisations that I do not agree with," the Haas driver added.

It has also been awkward for Ecclestone's successor, Chase Carey, whose wife Wendy reportedly deleted her Twitter account recently.

The deletion was hot on the heels of reports that she openly supported Donald Trump on the platform.

When asked if he thinks it was necessary for Mrs Carey to delete her account, Ecclestone told GMM: "Maybe it was done under Chase's instruction.

"I think the US president has done a good job for the world," the 89-year-old added.

Indeed, one possibility is that Carey wants to avoid a political clash with Hamilton, who is F1's top star, especially as American Carey was also reportedly at the centre of the founding of the politically right-wing Fox News.

"I thought it was Rupert Murdoch," Ecclestone told us.

"In any case I am not following Fox News so I cannot comment on their politics, but I follow Formula 1's long standing position of not being involved in racism or politics in general."

As for racism in F1 more generally, and whether Carey and Hamilton are aligned politically, Ecclestone continued: "The race promoters want to organise a race, the teams want to race, the drivers want to win and really no one is trying to stop this because of people's racism and colour.

"I have not seen where Chase has aligned with what Lewis is doing, whatever it is. Time will tell," he added.


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27 F1 Fan comments on “Ecclestone: F1 should not be involved in 'racism or politics'

  1. Mark Harris

    Bernie is so very correct. This is a sport, not a soap box. Lewis' support of BLM clearly shows a lack of research as BLM is led by white Marxist revolutionaries bent of the overthrow of the American society/culture. If you go to the BLM website and click donate you will be directed to the DNC, Democratic National Commitee. Aside from that fact, kneeling for any host nation's anthem is disrespectful and an insult.

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  2. Malcolm Nunn

    For once I agree with Bernie. We want to see racing not join in any politcal agenda and can we see the Mercedes painted in silve again an dthe dtivers in white suits. I agree with Mark, kneeling during a national anthem is disrepecful.

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  3. mark harris

    Yes, race. Leave the agendas to your own time while remembering that you are representing our sport, your team and your nation. Show respect to others, individuals, teams and nations.

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  4. Mark Harris

    Lewis obviously saw an opportunity to do something positive. Failure to properly research what BLM really represents is inexcusable. He cannot possibly wish to see the Western world become socialist/Marxist with all that follows. I would hope he would see the error of his ways and retract his support for what is really a bunch of terrorists bent on destruction while not really giving a rat's behind for any lives let alone black. Pay attention and read up F1.

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  5. Richard

    Spot on Bernie correct again. We are not interested in politics or hamiltons bullying tactics with other drivers & F1. WE JUST WANT TO SEE RACING! Keep politics out of it FOREVER!

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  6. brian hull

    Bernie is right, politics & race has never been an issue in racing & also many other sports, it has NO PLACE IN SPORTS!!! lewis is out of order on this particular issue in light of the tragic events happening in the U.S. people of all ages & colour are being killed, maimed etc, b.l.m., antifa & the d.n.c. are hell bent on descted president??? None of this murders & mayhem is about racism!!! To insult the national anthem of any nation is never ever acceptable, anytime, anywhere, The GPDA MUST IMPOSE SOME FORM OF SANCTION AGAINST THIS BLIND STUPIDITY, NOW??

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  7. brian d.j. hull

    " txt in previous msg somehow went awol, the line should read, "The b.l.m. antifa & the d.n.c. are hell bent in their attempts to destroy a duly elected president"

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  8. geriactric racer

    a ONE OFF, to show they care, BUT NOT EVERY RACE, The MONEY Hamilton gets to Race IS OBSCENE, and MERCEDES are FOOLS for PAYING IT, if HAMILTON cared about his coloured friends, HE SHOULD SPEND SOME OF HIS MILLIONS to HELP THEM

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  9. Chris

    Bernie is right about the anti racism cause not being a good fit for F1. But why did he give in to proponents of the politically correct hybrid madness that has ruined the sport? That was far worse than a bunch of drivers getting on one knee.

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  10. paul

    After years of this boring racing
    and now bending a knee every race to keep the spoilt Hamilton happy!!
    Botas has no intention of ever being allowed to beat his favoured team mate
    My god give it up and sort out your sport
    I’m signing off until this follow the leader Not allowed to overtake rubbish has done killing itself

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  11. Mark Harris

    One would think that Liberty Media would have done some research before allowing this travesty. Perhaps if one dug deep enough in the corporate maze the name Soros might appear. Never thought I'd see F1 support a terrorist group.

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  12. S R HURT

    There seemed to be an amount of debris on the circuit today for the only choice of Tyre’s (Pirelli) to contend with the debris probably due to lack of Brushes at the crash scenes, I thought we were waiting for the local council to appear to clean up or was it a lack of stewards attending a full blown race behind closed doors, and its put out via Tv they have volunteer stewards !!!
    I would happily stand with my brush just waiting to sweep the track after those debris infused tyre failures if they were short of person power, I’ve never heard of silverstone having tyre problems through the right handers in all the years of use...

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  13. Fred Flinstone

    Ecclestone is correct, and F1 is wrong to engage at all, or show any inclination towards favoring BLM (Marxist, anti-American, and anti-family, as well as anti-Freedom/West). Hamilton is a low IQ guy who doesn't know the first thing about BLM or what goes on here in the USA.

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  14. Neil Laas

    Hamilton is a hypocrite there are so many other examples of intolerance in the world that also needs to be focused on. Religious wars and the killing of white farmers by black thugs in South Africa. Not a word by Hamilton on any of this only his personal feelings.

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  15. Helen

    After years of supporting F1, it is time to rethink support due to Hamilton's tshirt. How is that part of race day? Where are the F1 rules? Where was his racing jumpsuit! Very disappointed and unhappy with F1!

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  16. Paul millard

    I have always been an ardent fan of Louis but now with him turning f1 into a political platform for his views
    I cannot stand the sight of him and rest of f1 are just frightened of upsetting him so Louis leave f1 and give George Russel your seat

    Reply

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