Ecclestone still welcome at Russian GP - promoter
"Diversity, after all !"
Bernie Ecclestone is still welcome at the Russian GP, organisers of the Sochi race have announced.
The former F1 supremo was recently scolded by the sport’s new owners after controversially claiming that black people are often "more racist than white people".
Liberty Media reacted by saying the 89-year-old is no longer F1’s ’chairman emeritus’, with sources suggesting he will also be banned from attending races.
"They might want to try it in Russia," Ecclestone, who had a good relationship with Vladimir Putin, responded. "I think I could probably find a pass."
Indeed, Sochi promoter Alexey Titov told Tass news agency on Wednesday that Ecclestone will be welcome at the Russian GP next month.
"Despite the public conflict, we must always remember about the relationships with people," Titov said.
"In this sense, I am sure the new leadership of Formula 1 will not engage in such nonsense as refusing Ecclestone’s attendance at the race on the basis that he has different views.
"Diversity, after all," he quipped.
Daniil Kvyat explained recently that the reason he elects to stand rather than kneel before grands prix this year is because it clashes with the Russian culture.
Titov, however, said the Lewis Hamilton-championed kneeling protest in support of Black Lives Matter will not be forbidden at Sochi.
"We respect the position of all Formula 1 competitors, which is precisely the essence of a free society with a variety of views and opinions," he said.
"One of those, among others, is the freedom to kneel or to act like Daniil and other drivers.
"We are sure that the fans share this philosophy and will support their favourite drivers, for whom the Russian GP will be the first race of the season with spectators in the stands," added Titov.
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