Former F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has claimed the Black Lives Matter movement are using Lewis Hamilton to make money. The 90-year-old also insisted that F1 is not racist as he defended motorsport’s premier competition.
Hamilton has been the leading F1 figure in fighting for diversity across all aspects of the sport.
The seven-time world champion was extremely vocal following the death of George Floyd last year in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Brit held talks with F1 bosses, who agreed to allow kneeling before races last year, in which the majority of drivers took part in.
Ecclestone claims he has spoken to Hamilton’s father to warn him that his son is apparently being used.
“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,” Ecclestone told the Telegraph.
Ecclestone sold F1 to Liberty Media in 2017 but if he remained in charge then things would have been handled differently.
“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 added.
“One hundred per cent, there wouldn’t have been this business of kneeling before races.”
Last year Hamilton called Ecclestone “ignorant and uneducated” for claiming there is no discrimination in sport.
In response, Ecclestone insisted he was “entitled to his opinion” and that he was just “misunderstood”.
In his latest interview, he added: “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.”
Hamilton explained in December how the Black Lives Matter movement was affecting him.
He said: “I had this extra drive in me this year to get to the end of those races.
“It was a different drive than what I’ve had in me in the past. To get to the end of those races first so that I could utilise that platform [for Black Lives Matter] and shine the light as bright as possible.”