Former Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said he would “take a bullet” for Russian President Vladimir Putin and described him as “a first-class person”.
Mr Ecclestone was asked on ITV’s Good Morning Britain if he still regards Mr Putin as a friend and he replied: “I’d still take a bullet for him. I’d rather it didn’t hurt, but if it does I’d still take a bullet, because he’s a first-class person.”
“What he’s doing is something that he believed was the right thing he was doing for Russia.”
“Unfortunately, he’s like a lot of business people, certainly like me, we make mistakes from time to time. When you’ve made the mistake, you have to do the best you can to get out of it.”
“I think if it had been conducted properly, I mean the other person in Ukraine, I mean, his profession, I understand, he used to be a comedian.”
“I think he seems as if he wants to continue that profession, because I think if he’d have thought about things, he would have definitely made a big enough effort to speak to Mr Putin, who is a sensible person and would have listened to him and could have probably done something about it.”
Mr Ecclestone added the war in Ukraine was not “intentional”, saying: “And I’m quite sure Ukraine, if they’d wanted to get out of it properly, could have done.”
Asked if he has had a chance to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin about “what a mess” the situation is or urged him to rethink what he is doing, Mr Ecclestone told Good Morning Britain: “No. He’s probably thought about that himself. He probably doesn’t need reminding.
“I’m absolutely sure he now wishes he hadn’t started this whole business, but didn’t start as a war.”
Formula 1 distanced themselves from the comments, telling the Telegraph: “The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very stark contrast to position of the modern values of our sport.”
The former Formula 1 boss has a longstanding friendship with the Russian president.
In February of this year, just a day after Russia invaded Ukraine, Mr Ecclestone described Putin as “honourable”, and seemingly refused to criticise his decision to start the war.
Mr Ecclestone said: “As a person I found him [Putin] very straightforward and honourable.”
“He did exactly what he said he was going to do without any arguments.”
The 91-year-old’s loyalties date back to 2019 and beyond. In that year, Mr Ecclestone told The Times he felt the Russian should be “running Europe”, and seemingly supported his anti-democracy ideology.
“He’s a good guy. He’s never done anything that isn’t doing good things for people. I would like him running Europe. We haven’t got anybody, so it couldn’t be any worse.”
“He does what he says he is going to do… I am not a supporter of democracy. You need a dictator. As a dictator, you say, ‘This is what I’m going to do’. In a democracy, it gets watered down.”
Photo Credit: Getty