Bernie Ecclestone is reported to have praised Hitler for his ability to “get things done” and said he preferred totalitarian regimes to democracies.
The billionaire Formula One chief was quoted Saturday’s Times as criticising MPs for their lack of strong leadership.
He said he liked “strong leaders”, such as Margaret Thatcher and suggested that Max Mosley, president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), would make a good Prime Minister.
Mr Mosley, the son of Sir Oswald Mosley, the British Union of Fascists leader, was recently accused by Formula One racing teams of being a “dictator”.
“In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he was in the way that he could command a lot of people, able to get things done,” said Mr Ecclestone, 78.
“In the end he got lost, so he wasn’t a very good dictator because either he had all these things and knew what was going on and insisted, or he just went along with it . . . so either way he wasn’t a dictator.” He also rounded on democracy, claiming that “it hasn’t done a lot of good for many countries — including this one Britain.”
He went on: “Politicians are too worried about elections. We did a terrible thing when we supported the idea of getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He was the only one who could control that country. It was the same [with the Taleban]. We move into countries and we have no idea of the culture. The Americans probably thought Bosnia was a town in Miami. There are people starving in Africa and we sit back and do nothing but we get involved in things we should leave alone.”
Mr Ecclestone plunged the Blair Government into a row about donations in 1997 after it emerged that he had given the party £1 million. He has a reputation for being outspoken. Last month he said that Formula One needed a “black, Jewish woman who, if possible, wins some races”.
And in 2008 he provoked uproar when he suggested racist comments directed at Lewis Hamilton on websites in the build-up to the Brazilian Grand Prix “started as just a joke”.
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