Bernie Ecclestone makes offensive WWII comparison in Christian Horner Red Bull assessment

Thomas Maher
Christian Horner and Bernie Ecclestone walk through the F1 paddock in conversation.

Bernie Ecclestone has offered his opinion on how Christian Horner's life is going at the moment.

Bernie Ecclestone has made an offensive comparison to the Holocaust after giving his view of the Red Bull investigation into Christian Horner.

Red Bull GmbH internally investigated Horner following an employee complaint but despite finding Horner cleared of the charges, the atmosphere within the team has since been tense, something Ecclestone compared to relations with Germany post-WWII.

Bernie Ecclestone: I don’t see why anyone would push Christian Horner out

Red Bull GmbH dismissing their investigation into the F1 team boss led to a few weeks of internal machinations as rumours of a power struggle amongst various management personnel and shareholders seemed to threaten Horner’s future.

But, with all shareholders unified in their support of Horner following various meetings and discussions as the employee at the heart of the allegations was suspended by the F1 team pending internal investigations, Ecclestone believes the matter is akin to how the world treated Germany in the aftermath of the Second World War.

With Horner having weathered some turbulent waters in his professional and personal life as a result of the furore, Ecclestone told the UK’s Daily Mail that all is now peaceful in the ranks of Red Bull.

“It’s peace in our time. And Christian informs me everything’s fantastic with Geri [Horner],” Ecclestone said.

The former F1 boss is a close personal friend of Horner’s and was best man for the wedding of the team boss and the former Spice Girl.

The 93-year-old is no stranger to making inappropriate statements and chose to compare the calm after the storm to the post-holocaust sentiment in Europe following the end of WWII, which saw approximately six million European Jews killed, as he said he believes it’ll be business as usual behind the scenes at Red Bull.

“Max (Verstappen) seems likely to stay, and it’s like all wars in so much as people get over things and move on,” Ecclestone is reported as saying by Jonathan McEvoy.

“After the Second World War, you weren’t allowed to mention Germany, and the Jews wouldn’t buy anything from there. It was understandable.

“But, after not too long, everyone forgets that and they are buying Mercedes.

“So I don’t see why anyone would want to push Christian out, certainly not as time acts as a great healer. He is doing a super job, and a few weeks can make a big difference.

“He has Geri’s support, and the whole team is doing well. There is no logical reason to upset that balance.”

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Bernie Ecclestone no stranger to courting controversy

The former F1 boss has previously brought up the Second World War when he referred to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler as “able to get things done”.

15 years ago, with the F1 teams threatening a breakaway series, Ecclestone said: “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.

“I prefer strong leaders. Margaret Thatcher made decisions on the run and got the job done. She was the one who built this country [UK] up slowly. We’ve let it go down again.”

The comments resulted in Ecclestone issuing a formal apology, following a call from the president of the World Jewish congress Ronald Lauder for him to resign from his role as F1 CEO.

Ecclestone said: “What I regret is people who have taken this the wrong way and who have been offended. I am really, really sad about that because I have done an awful lot for the Jewish community through charities and whatever.”

Referring to the late Max Mosley, the former FIA President and son of fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, Ecclestone said at the time: “Max would do a super job, he’s a good leader. I don’t think his background would be a problem.

“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 the country. It was the same with [the Taliban.]”

In 2015, Ecclestone also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “should be running Europe.”

“He should just be in charge,” Ecclestone said. “He does what he says he’s gonna do, he gets the job done. I mean people don’t understand exactly what he wants to do … He wants to put Russia back to what it was.”

In June 2022, Ecclestone said he would “take a bullet” for Putin.

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