Bernie Ecclestone has claimed Lewis Hamilton is “being used by the Black Lives Matter movement” over the Formula One star’s anti-racism stance.
And the former F1 supremo has astonishingly said nobody would have been wearing anti-discrimination T-shirts on Grand Prix podiums or taking a knee before races had he still been in charge of the sport.
Hamilton spoke out against racism issues within F1 in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in the United States last year.
The 36-year-old knelt before races to show his solidarity with the Black Lives Matter, and wore the anti-racism movement’s T-shirts on the podium as he surged to a seventh world title triumph.
Ecclestone was criticised by Hamilton after the former F1 chief executive downplayed concerns over racism within the sport.
And the 90-year-old tycoon has accused the Black Lives Matter movement of using Hamilton to make money, as he reiterated his view that F1 should stay out of politics.
“If I’d have still been around there wouldn’t have been anyone wearing [anti-racism] T-shirts on the podium, that’s for sure,” Ecclestone said in an interview with The Telegraph.
Ecclestone said he wouldn’t have allowed kneeling before races, and while he acknowledged F1 should do more to promote diversity, he said the sport should not be used as “a tool” for politics.
Hamilton last year branded Ecclestone “ignorant and uneducated” after the business magnate said he was “surprised” to hear that the driver had been affected by racism within the sport.
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Ecclestone has now hit back at Hamilton’s criticism, claiming the Mercedes star had misunderstood him.
He said: “I agree we need to give more people a chance. Don’t forget I was the first person to put a black guy in a Formula 1 car. And I supported him and have supported an awful lot of black people. But Lewis is entitled to his view.
“But I’ve said to his father, ‘Lewis needs to be careful’. Because he’s being used by the people who are supporting this Black Lives Matter and they are taking a lot of money from it. And nobody knows where it goes.”