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23 Jul, 2020 13:40

Bernie Ecclestone says he pulled F1 from South Africa over RACIST MURDER as he hits back at Lewis Hamilton

Bernie Ecclestone says he pulled F1 from South Africa over RACIST MURDER as he hits back at Lewis Hamilton

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he was threatened with arrest for saving a man from a violent racial attack at a race weekend with driver Jochen Rindt, adding that "life isn't fair" while responding to "lucky" Lewis Hamilton.

The chairman emeritus of the Formula One Group responded to the Hamilton Commission – a body established by the reigning champion to break down the "institutional barriers" the F1 world champion has encountered during his career – by recalling an assault he witnessed by a white chauffeur on a black citizen.

Ecclestone, who was accused of being "ignorant and uneducated" by Hamilton after claiming that "black people are more racist than white people", said he had been on his way to a race with former Formula One star Rindt when he was forced to stop his driver from attacking a bystander.

"A black person was walking in the road and the white driver opened the car window and, with a cane, hit the black person and made him walk on the side of the road," the 89-year-old explained.

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"I shouted to the driver to stop the car. Jochen and I pulled the driver out and put the black person in the car and drove to where it was okay for our new passenger to get out safely.

"I was semi-arrested by the police. I explained the facts of life to them, which they didn't want to understand. That is how it was. I had many other incidents like this. Life isn't fair. We need to educate a younger generation.

"As for my feelings for our black society, I pulled F1 out of South Africa after a white South African killed a black journalist because of his comments."

The Grand Prix in South Africa hosted 33 races between 1934 and 1993 before Ecclestone acted.

Hamilton has been an outspoken supporter of Black Lives Matter and was furious at Ecclestone's previous comments, which included voicing opposition to campaigners removing statues of figures associated with historic racism.

"Bernie is out of the sport and a different generation but this is exactly what is wrong," the six-time champion wrote on Instagram.

"Ignorant and uneducated comments which show us how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen.

"If someone who has 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."

Three-time champion Jackie Stewart warned that Hamilton was creating unnecessary issues and ex-Formula One, NASCAR and IndyCar racer Mario Andretti called his campaign "pretentious".

"It’s creating a problem that doesn’t exist," he told El Mercurio before criticizing the decision made by Hamilton's Mercedes team to change the livery of their cars.

"Painting the car black…I don’t know what good it will do. I’ve met drivers from different backgrounds, races and I’ve always welcomed them with open arms.

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"In motor racing, it doesn’t matter what color you are. You have to earn your place with results and that’s the same for everyone."

Hamilton called the views "disappointing".

"Unfortunately [it is] a reality that some of the older generation who still have a voice today cannot get out of their own way and acknowledge there is a problem," he responded.

"Again, this is plain ignorance but that will not stop me from continuing to push for change.

"It is never too late to learn and I hope that this man [Andretti] who I've always had respect for can take the time to educate himself."

Ecclestone, who has previously said that Hamilton unintentionally "takes so much of the attention himself", offered the 35-year-old fresh words of advice.

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"Lewis could start by making people aware that those who are other than white are employed by teams and are given the same opportunities," he suggested.

"Lewis, you state that I am uneducated and ignorant. I have the same level of schooling as you. At least I had a reason – I was at school during the last war, not always under the best conditions.

"You are lucky because if I had been properly educated perhaps Formula One would not be as it was for you to benefit as you have.

"I have done well out of it, too, but I was making money before I was in Formula One. Like most successful people, you have had a little bit of luck and worked hard.

"Don't think about what your skin color is; think about what color your mind is. We are all humans with the same movements. We must think in the same way."

Also on rt.com 'His comments have no place in Formula 1 or society': F1 distances itself from ex-chief Bernie Ecclestone after CNN interview