Six-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has taken to social media to express his "sadness and disappointment" at comments made by former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone in an interview over the issue of racism. Hamilton said that Ecclestone's comments were "sad and disappointing" and that they demonstrated "how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen".
Hamilton has set up a commission to increase diversity in motorsport, while F1 announced on Thursday the details of a new task force and foundation with the same aim.
"I don't think it's going to do anything bad or good for Formula One".
"It will make complete perception to me now that nearly nothing was reported or carried out to make our sport extra assorted or to deal with the racial abuse I received during my job".
"I am not anti-black people", insisted Ecclestone.
"For me, and so many others around the world, seeing George Floyd's murder triggered a sense of deep pain, anguish and frustration", said the only black driver in racing, now representing the Mercedes AMG Petronas team. "I will continue to use my voice to represent those who don't have one, and to speak for those who are underrepresented to provide an opportunity to have a chance in our sport".More news: Inter set to sign defender from Real Madrid
He also claimed that Hamilton is not the only black driver in F1 history. I didn't think it affected him'.
The 89-year-old former Formula One Group chief executive made a series of comments during an interview with CNN Sport reacting to recent Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the US.
After reading Ecclestone's repugnant comments, it was Hamilton himself who used his Instagram to target the CEO who left F1 in early 2017.
"Asked how he had formed this view, Ecclestone said: "[It's just] things over the years that I've noticed, and there's no need for it.
"At a time when unity is needed to tackle racism and inequality, we completely disagree with Bernie Ecclestone's comments that have no place in Formula 1 or society", the statement said. "First he's very, very, very talented as a driver and he seems to be now extremely talented when he's standing up making speeches", Ecclestone said. I think it's the public at large that have to start thinking.
Commenting the ongoing marches protesting systemic racism and police brutality against African Americans, Ecclestone claimed that most people attending them "probably wouldn't know" what they were protesting about.More news: New, free Windows 10 tool from Microsoft could prove to be invaluable
"I am not anti-black people - quite the opposite", Ecclestone said.
"I'm really unhappy if he took it seriously", Ecclestone said.
"This last campaign he's doing for the Black people is wonderful".
"I would never even have considered it if I had been anti-black".
"I'm surprised if anyone in Formula One, certainly the teams and the people like the promoters, have any concern about this".More news: Hundreds queue for COVID-19 mass testing in Beijing