Ecclestone would let Russia GP go ahead even without Verstappen

Ecclestone would let Russia GP go ahead even without Verstappen

1 March - 09:36 Last update: 12:13

Bernie Ecclestone believes that the Russian Grand Prix could in principle go ahead in 2022 at the Sochi Autodrom. Further, the former owner of Formula 1 does not even seem to condemn the heinous acts of President Vladimir Putin. It is known that Ecclestone maintained a good relationship.

(Disclaimer: Ecclestone's interview with Times Radio took place on February 25. At that time, the 91-year-old Briton did not know, for example, that Putin is putting nuclear weapons on alert)

Ecclestone on actions Putin and Russian invasion

"I think it depends very much on what the exact situation is between Ukraine and Russia," Ecclestone begins to tell the British digital radio station. He argues that he is not the person to disapprove of the actions. "It’s not going to make any difference if there is a race in Russia to anything else that has happened in the world. I suppose it is the people who are engaged in the event who would decide on it, because maybe other people think it was the right thing for Russia to do. So how can anyone else judge exactly what is happening today?"

It is well known that Ecclestone maintains a fairly good relationship with Putin. The two have spoken several times and the billionaire keeps fond memories of them. So four days ago he did not (yet) condemn the invasion of Ukraine. "As a person I found him very straightforward and honourable. He did exactly what he said he was going to do without any arguments.”

No GP in Russia

UEFA and FIFA have already decided to ban all Russian teams from its competitions and move the Champions League final to Paris. Formula 1 followed suit by not calling on Sochi in 2022 at least. However, Ecclestone believes that the GP can continue even without a Max Verstappen as reigning world champion.

"Of course it can. He is just one person in the event. I think it is entirely up to the Formula 1 group and the FIA to decide whether they think it is correct or not. (There is) nothing in the world I can do about it. Do I think it will be damaging to the sport? I don’t see why one sport should really follow another one," said Ecclestone, who also doesn't understand why Russian money in the pinnacle of motorsport is suddenly something bad.

Ecclestone in 2017 already praising Putin

Five years ago, Ecclestone also had nice words for Putin. At the time, Ecclestone said he would stand in front of Putin if someone with a machine gun was willing to shoot the Russian president. He then called Putin a good guy who had never done anything that wasn't good for the people.

He even went further by saying that as far as he was concerned Putin would even be allowed to lead Europe. Ecclestone said that he was not in favour of a democracy and that he considered a dictator necessary in Europe.

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