Bernie Ecclestone says Lewis Hamilton will regret supporting Black Lives Matter
Bernie Ecclestone, the billionaire and ex-CEO of Formula One, claims Lewis Hamilton is no longer the ‘warrior’ he once was, and that he will regret his public support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Ecclestone claimed Hamilton was not driving to his potential in his chase of a record eighth World Championship championship in an angry interview ahead of this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone, and warned that he could walk away from his new two-year £80 million Mercedes contract.
Hamilton is 32 points behind Red Bull opponent Max Verstappen heading into this weekend’s event after a five-race losing streak.
The seven-time world champion drove beautifully to win three of the first four races, but he crashed out in rain-soaked Imola in April and squandered an unexpected victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix last month when he fluffed his lines at the restart.
Ecclestone told the Press Association, “I’ve spoken to a lot of people about this and perhaps Lewis isn’t quite the fighter that he was.”
“He could have done better on numerous times this year, but he hasn’t. He’s never had any competition before, and the equipment has always been top-notch, so he hasn’t had to put in much effort. But now he might be thinking that he might ease up a little.
“I expected he’d try to win the championship and then retire at the start of the year. But it doesn’t appear to be the case, even if I wouldn’t put too much faith on contracts. He’ll be able to get away from it.
“I’m sure he looked at the clothes and music options, but he realized it’s not as easy to make money there as it is in Formula One.”
Ecclestone says he agrees with Hamilton’s anti-racism position, but he doesn’t believe drivers should take a knee before races.
After Ecclestone, 90, claimed in a CNN interview that “in many circumstances black people are more prejudiced than white people,” Hamilton called him “uneducated and ignorant.”
Ecclestone remarked when asked if he and Hamilton still speak:
“It goes on and off. The last time that happened was when he was supporting Black Lives Matter. Lewis assumed I was against it, but he was mistaken since I understand what he’s trying to do.
“He phoned me because I chatted with Anthony, his father. I previously stated that Lewis’ problem is that he has gone out of his way to raise awareness for Black Lives Matter, and that others, not him, are profiting handsomely from it.
“As soon as the euphoria wears off, he’ll be left with the realization that it’s all his fault. And all he’s done in the past has been to attempt to help.
“It’s the same thing with football, where doing these things has become fashionable to appear as if you’re interested in doing something. But, aside from talking about it, I’m curious as to what people actually do.
“Lewis has done more on this than most. I’m not sure what the footballers have done other than cheer each other on.”
F1 administrators announced scholarships, apprenticeships, and intern postings for underrepresented groups on Wednesday, July 14. Hamilton is the only black driver in the sport.
“I remarked to Lewis that it would be nice if we did something together to open up Formula One to a lot more races, rather than it only being white and English,” Ecclestone added.
“Lewis has accomplished a lot, but now it is up to everyone else to think about doing something, because I am confident that there are many people from other countries who have drivers, technicians, and engineers as capable as white people today.
“Lewis would not have made it if Ron Dennis had not gotten hold of him when he was a boy, believed in him, and supported him throughout his life.
“Lewis’ father believed in him and was entirely behind him, so we need to identify homes where the parents are completely behind their children and are willing to make sacrifices so that the children have a chance.”