« Bernie Ecclestone strikes again with ’stupid’ remark in Bahrain »
F1 supremo criticises Bahrain government over staging of race. Crown Prince laughs it off: ’It’s just Bernie being Bernie’
Bernie Ecclestone has a habit for maladroitness that has become more noticeable as each of his 82 years has passed. But he sounded alarm bells here when he seemingly called the Bahrain government “stupid” for staging a grand prix because of the opportunities it presented to pro-democracy protesters.
It was another race and another gaffe for Formula One’s supremo, who once said Adolf Hitler got things done and who on Friday had suggested everything was OK in Bahrain but that, no, he wouldn’t be staging a race in Syria. (...)
What he actually said to BBC Sport’s Dan Roan, who had asked him if the race had been politicised, was: “We believe the government were in a way really stupid to put this race on [because] it’s a platform for people to use for protesting.”
Ecclestone added: “It [the race] is good. I don’t think it’s for us to decide the politics, good or bad. It’s a good circuit, a good race, and we think everybody’s happy so we’re here.”
When his comments were later repeated in the paddock the country’s crown prince laughed them off: “It’s Bernie being Bernie,” said Prince Salman bin Hamad Isa al-Khalifa on his visit to the track. “I love Bernie and his quotes. I think it’s funny. I have a sense of humour. People will know he’s being sarcastic. I think it’s funny, and I can’t be thankful enough for his support.”