Former Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has stood by his comments on racism after receiving criticism from Lewis Hamilton.
The 89-year-old billionaire last week claimed: "In many cases, black people are more racist than white people."
Despite the six-time world champion calling Ecclestone “ignorant and uneducated”, the well-known F1 supremo has since defended his claims, telling the Mail: “I am not anti-black people. Quite the opposite. I have always been very much in favour.
“In fact, Lewis’s dad wanted to go into business with me. He made some nice rowing machines. I would never even have considered it if I had been anti-black. If the project had been right, I would have done it,” he added.
The initial remarks saw the current F1 regime distance themselves from the previous chief executive, commenting how the former Brabham team owner’s views have “no place in Formula 1 or society”.
In response to the Mercedes driver’s condemnation of his comments, Ecclestone launched a staunch defence of his opinions, adding: “It’s not my fault I am white.
"Over the years, I have met a lot of white people I didn’t like, but never a black person I didn’t like.
"I’ve been mugged a couple of times, once by three black guys. I ended up in hospital, but even after that I was never against anyone who was black. I don’t think of Lewis as black or anything else. He’s just Lewis to me.
"If a black person or a white person gets turned down for a job you have to ask why. Was it because of their skin colour, or was it because they weren’t up to the job? That is what I was saying."
Hamilton, who has joined numerous Black Lives Matter marches and recently called out fellow drivers who had been silent on the issue, has become racing’s poster boy in the fight against racial inequality.
Speaking on Ecclestone’s comments last week, the reigning world champion said: “So sad and disappointing to read these comments. Bernie is out of the sport and of a different generation.
“But this is exactly what is wrong — ignorant and uneducated comments which show how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen.”
Formula 1 makes its anticipated return this weekend with Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, with the race at the Red Bull Ring the first of an initial eight-race European calendar.
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