Lewis Hamilton said it was “sad” and “disappointing” to see the former head of Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestone, claim that “in lots of cases, Black people are more racist than what White people are.”
Hamilton – the lone Black driver in Formula 1 – took to Instagram to reply to the comments made by the 89-year-old billionaire to CNN Sport on Friday.
The six-time world champion began by writing, “Damn, I just don’t even know where to start with this one.” Hamilton later called Ecclestone’s comments both “ignorant” and “uneducated.”
Ecclestone ran Formula 1 for roughly 40 years before being replaced as chief executive in 2017.
“Bernie is out of the sport and a different generation but this is exactly what is wrong – ignorant and uneducated comments which show us how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen,” Hamilton wrote.
“It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career.
“If someone who has run the sport for decades has such a lack of understanding of the deep [sic] routed issues we as black people deal with every day, how can we expect all the people who work under him to understand. It starts at the top.
“Now the time has come for change. I will not stop pushing to create an inclusive future for our sport with equal opportunity for all.
“To create a world that provides equal opportunity for minorities. 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.”
Formula One statement
Prior to Hamilton taking to social media, Formula 1 said in a statement it “completely disagreed with Bernie Ecclestone’s comments that have no place in Formula 1 or society.” It added that his title of Chairman Emeritus expired at the start of 2020.
Ecclestone – no stranger to controversy – made the remark as he discussed a commission set up by Hamilton in an effort to increase diversity in the sport.
“I don’t think it’s going to do anything bad or good for Formula 1,” he said.
“It’ll just make people think which is more important. I think that’s the same for everybody. People ought to think a little bit and think: ‘Well, what the hell. Somebody’s not the same as White people and Black people should think the same about White people.’
“In lots of cases, Black people are more racist than what White people are.”
CNN’s George Ramsay contributed to this story