Former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone believes Lewis Hamilton is right to speak out against racial abuse following the death of George Floyd.
Floyds’s death last week in Minneapolis after a police officer knelt on his neck has brought the issue of racial prejudice to worldwide attention.
And Hamilton, Formula 1’s only black driver, was one of many sports stars and celebrities around the world to speak out against racial abuse since the incident.
The six-time World Champion said he was “completely overcome with rage at the sight of such blatant disregard for the lives of our people”.
And Ecclestone says he supports Hamilton’s actions and those of sports stars and celebrities on a whole to make sure their voices are heard.
“It is a good thing that Lewis does come out and the footballers and start talking and they should carry on doing so,” he told AFP.
“As far as I am personally concerned, it is a great surprise to me it has taken so long for a black person to be so brutally killed to bring sports people’s attention to these things.”
Ecclestone was in charge of F1 when he made the controversial decision to pull the sport out of South Africa in 1986 due to the apartheid regime.
And the 89-year-old believes that since then the issue of racism still hasn’t been tackled.
“I pulled the race out of South Africa when there was apartheid, which was wrong and disgusting,” he said.
“I don’t see that racism has ever gone away. People have always not been very nice.”
Ecclestone also mentioned the situation in Bahrain from several years back.
The 2011 event was cancelled due to protestors demanding political reforms, whom the authorities cracked down on, but the 2012 race still went ahead.
“I argued in Bahrain and supported the people who were complaining they had been bullied or whatever,” he explained.
“I met the person who was organising the protests and met with people who claimed to have been tortured.
“In this case they wanted to take over the country and that was not the case in South Africa nor now in the United States — quite the opposite.”