Ecclestone: Hitler's actions were 'unnecessary'

By Jessica Elgot, March 16, 2010
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Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One chief

Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One chief

Bernie Ecclestone, the head of Formula One motor racing, has described the Holocaust as “at best disgusting. And unnecessary”.

In July last year Mr Ecclestone was forced to make a public apology for comments to the Times where he appeared to praise Hitler’s leadership and his ability to “get things done”.

He later apologised in an interview with the JC, in which he said: “I never supported Hitler, I don’t think there’s anybody in this world who could support Hitler and the atrocities they [the Nazis] carried out.”

Speaking about the scandal which engulfed him and his lucrative sponsorship deals for Formula One last year, Mr Ecclestone now claims in an interview with the Mail on Sunday to have researched Hitler’s Germany more thoroughly.

He said: ”Since this all happened, I have managed to look a bit more into things. In fact, there has been an awful lot written recently about those days and when you read all that, you realise it probably isn’t what people thought.

He added: ”What Hitler did was at best disgusting. And unnecessary. What happened up until 1939 was, probably, good for the country because it put Germany back on the road but what he did after that was completely unnecessary and I don’t think there was any advantage.

“I don’t think anybody could have got any advantage out of it.”

His remarks last year brought calls for his resignation from the president of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder.

And a senior German Jewish official called for him to be boycotted by Formula One teams. Dieter Graumann, a vice-president of the Central Council of Jews, said: “No team should work with him any more."

Last updated: 1:03pm, March 16 2010