Ecclestone apologises for storm caused by Putin comments

The former Formula One chief executive previously said he would still "take a bullet" for Russian president Vladimir Putin
Ecclestone apologises for storm caused by Putin comments

Thomson Reuters

Former Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone apologised on Saturday for causing upset with comments about the war in Ukraine and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The 91 year old, who no longer has a role with Formula One, drew condemnation last month when he defended Putin in a television interview as a "first class person" he would "take a bullet" for.

He also told ITV's Good Morning Britain show that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy could have ended the Russian invasion by talking to Putin.

In a video released to media on Saturday, Ecclestone said he felt sorry for Ukrainians suffering in the conflict.

"It’s probably good for me to get some things off my chest... things that have been bothering me about what I said, what people think what I’ve said," he said from Ibiza.

"Often people, I think, come out and say things or do things without really too much thinking. Probably I did the same. I could understand people thinking that I’m defending what is done in Ukraine, which I don’t."

Ecclestone pointed out that he was brought up during World War Two.

"So I know what it’s like, and I feel sorry for the people in Ukraine having to suffer for something they haven’t done. They’ve done nothing wrong. They didn’t start anything, and they’ve done nothing," he said.

"I’m sorry if... anything I’ve said has upset anybody, because it certainly wasn’t intended."

Ecclestone's original comments were widely condemned, with Formula One saying they were "in very stark contrast to the position of the modern values of our sport".

Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton told reporters at the time that Formula One's old guard were not representative and should be given no air time.

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