Apolitical F1 gets political; Putin good…democracy bad

Today’s video has a lot of tongues wagging but in the end, you have to remember who the audience for this interview was…Russia. Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone did an interview with Russian station RT in which he said some controversial things but then that’s how Mr. E rolls, he’s controversial, he likes to keep the discussion centered around F1 whether it be positive or negative.

Formula 1 often claims to be apolitical but today’s video suggests that it is very much political, it just depends on who the audience is. The Russian Grand Prix happened to the be the forum and in that case, America was the subject of derision.

Now, as a Yankee myself, I’ll have patience with Sophie Shevardnadze and her Russian pride and polite backhand against America but with that comes the simple notion that national pride is alive and well in many countries including Russia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Bahrain, America, Canada et. al.  Is that any surprise? Ecclestone has been saying that Europe is dead and America thinks too much of itself for along time now but both venues support F1 very well…in fact, he’ll be here in a few days time for the USGP.

Perhaps more interesting to me than his slight of the US and democracy is the notion that he’d like to tear up the rule book. Then again, maybe F1 is a little too prideful of its engineering achievements?

What do you think about the interview? I’d like to give Sophie a tour of the US so she can see that her concern over our “belief” is really a little heavy handed.

Hat Tip: RT

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Fred Talmadge

Why would you say that about any country you do business in? I’m thinking senility.

Paul KieferJr

Hmmmm….might be time for Bernie to “disappear”. >_>

François MengWan

An FBI “inquiry” you mean ? =D

Paul KieferJr

Eeeeehhhhh…..more along the lines of “black-ops”. :D

Tom Firth

Politics aside. I liked his comment on Rindt.

Lawrence M. Miller

So, he is not in favor of democracy, “full stop!” Exactly what type of governance would he like to see? And, I assume that is an acknowledgment that the phony democracy practiced in Russia is a complete fraud and they should stop pretending.


I love how Bernie calls bribery in Fifa ranks as a tax that is good for business and Blatter and him are kindred spirits. He may be right though that Democracy is allusion like the way he runs F1 in that the people think they have a say but pretty much governments do what they want with no really accountability which is pretty true off them all around the world. It seems strange that he would accuse the USA of being egocentric considering he sees himself and F1 at the centre of all things. Pot calling the kettle and all… Read more »

Charles Clemen

f burnie and russia

Charles Clemen

popin is an ass,and does crappy things. anyone with his head so close to his arse he is bound to do shit stuff.

Charles Clemen

i would never go to russia to see anything

Charles Clemen

burnie should be locked up for his bribing.


I just can not believe this dude is real!!! He could be the biggest troll in history!!


I must give Bernie full marks for being clever–even brilliant. But he’s as craven as he is clever, and it’s painful to watch.

charlie white

Take it with a grain of salt. Bernie is addressing the Russian viewing audience. Next week in Austin, he’ll take it all back.


Ecclestone is such a … ahem, prostitute, it’s revolting. When everyone criticised F1 for going to Bahrain in the midst of civil unrest, he said time and again that “sports and politics shouldn’t mix” etc., and now he’s happy to be Putin’s puppet with this halfwitted babble.

The Sarcastic SOB

Good grief! Haven’t you ppl learned to ignore what Bernie says yet?

Negative Camber

Uh…no, We People don’t ignore the man who runs the entire sport. Not the best policy. Simply understanding the context is important here and knowing how Mr. E works, you can read between lines and discover more.

The Sarcastic SOB

Sorry, but nope. If you need him to build up your readership, well thats sad. Here’s your “context”: Bernie is a master marketing/sales guy, NOT the guy that runs the whole thing, just the most visible. Everything he says is for some sort of effect. What is important is what he *does. Whatever he says when his lips are moving can be safely ignored.

Mike S

I don’t know…I mean Bernie owns 5.3 and CVC Capital owns 35…but Mr. E does control the sport like a Producer ‘owns’ a movie. Yes, there are other players…but the Exec Producer is the one who gets everything done, signed, moving toward a desired goal. He is not the FIA, obviously…but being the most visible and the spokesperson for F1..Bernie controls tracks, coverage, Industry and arguably, the politics of a country to a extent. Bernies interview with Martin B. on Sky is very interesting…and watching him react to Martin’s questions…reading between the lines, says soooo much

Negative Camber

Oh, ok. So I guess a “sorry but nope” is the trump card here? I don’t need anyone to build up my readership, mate. we serve millions of unique IP visits per year and average the same download numbers as Motorsport magazine’s podcast which is tens of thousand per month so I would appreciate a little decorum there my friend. What is sad is to assume I am using Mr. E stories as clickbait. Mr. E is a massive influence to this series. Any pundit in F1 will say the same thing. He’s not a master at marketing, in fact… Read more »


I wouldn’t say I agree with ‘sarcastic SOB’s tone, but on the other hand he did warn us with his handle. I would just say though, that you have often on this forum, when someone is blaming Mr. Ecclestone for a problem in F1, taken the position that he shouldn’t be blamed because he doesn’t have nearly the control people think he has. That’s a really different comment than the one you’re making above. So, I’m sure Bernie is happy to have an advocate and I personally appreciate nuanced views, I’m not saying both things can’t necessarily be true, but… Read more »

Negative Camber

He is a big influence to F1, I’ve never denied that. He is, however, not the majority owner and does not control the regulatory side of F1. The teams and the FIA have gone a direction they feel is prudent for road-car relevancy and Mr. E doesn’t like it. He’s trying to push through changes and it isn’t as easy as many say it is not as easy as many say it is with Mr. E simply waving a finger and making it happen. If you’ve followed F1 for a length of time, the politics are galactic and stakeholders issues… Read more »


We’ve learned that what he says is not necessarily what he thinks, and that it’s always for a reason but not what you might think is the reason etc., but still it’s not on to have someone running a global entertainment/sport spouting forth such BS just to please some dictator.

Andreas Möller

First off, there’s no such thing as “apolitical” at this level of sport – the act of simply having the race/games/world cup etc in a country is in itself an endorsement of that country. Now, we may differ in our views on which countries (or their leaders) are “bad” enough to warrant not going there, but that’s another discussion. The act of sporting itself may be apolitical, but the arrangements around said sport (be it an F1 race, the World Championships or the Olympics) can never be decoupled from the country or regime where they are held. As for Bernie… Read more »

michael in seattle

Megalomaniacs of a feather . . . “Megalomania is a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of power, relevance,omnipotence, and by inflated self-esteem.” Yup. Bernie, Vlad, Ron, etc. Then again, these guys *do* have power, so maybe they simply are psychopaths.


I’m surprised that mr B.C.E’s comments haven’t received more praise considering his other fine and salient sallying-forths on the subjects of Hitler’s management style, women as appliances,’ that money was just resting in the account’ etc.
I’m not familliar which emoticon to use to indicate my sarcasm ,here; maybe one shaped like a…git?


Mr. B.C.E. Awesome.