Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone's Most Memorable Quotes
Still, Ecclestone is always good for a quote, and he did not disappoint this time. After the judge admitted a conviction in the bribery trial was unlikely, Ecclestone told Ian Parkes of the Press Association (via the Daily Mail and Sporting Life) that, "I was a bit of an idiot to do what I did to settle."
In honour of the end of the boss' trial, we have compiled a list of Ecclestone's most memorable quotes, whether they be easily recalled for their newsworthiness and/or humour or—as is the case for a number of these—their outright offensiveness.
Why Be Nice to Journalists?
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph (via UKmotorsport.com), Ecclestone said, "I can't remember when I've ever been kind to a journalist."
Even if you did think something like this, is there any reason to say it, particularly to a journalist?
At least all publicity is good publicity, right?
The Handshake Guy
Discussing his style of deal-making, Ecclestone told Edward Gorman of Management Today that:
I just hope that my reputation is of someone who is straightforward, honest and straight down the line, which is different to somebody who is going to screw people—because I haven't done that. My reputation is worth more to me than money. I'd like to be remembered as the "handshake guy", the one who did it all on a handshake.
And despite running a multibillion dollar business, that is exactly the reputation Ecclestone has.
Selling His Daughter
This one was tongue-in-cheek (I think), but when asked about his daughter's wedding, Ecclestone said, "I had to do something at the time that upset me. I had to give her away. I’d rather have sold her," he said, per the Daily Mail's Jonathan McEvoy.
I Don't Mind Being the Bad Guy
Before Silverstone's recent upgrades, there were always rumours that the home of the British Grand Prix was on the chopping block.
Ecclestone has never been above using threats to get what he wants. In 2004, he told the Mirror that, "If I did take away Silverstone and a British Grand Prix I'd be seen as a bad guy, but that wouldn't bother me."
Collecting the Money
In a 2010 joint interview with McLaren boss Ron Dennis for the official F1 website, Dennis praised the organisation Ecclestone has brought to the sport. Dennis remembered a race in Mexico starting two hours late, comparing it to today, where every part of a grand prix weekend is timed down to the second.
"Come off it—my organisation starts after the race, when I collect the money bag!" Ecclestone replied.
Keep the Women at Home
In 2005, referring to Danica Patrick, an American IndyCar and NASCAR driver, Ecclestone said, "You know I've got one of those wonderful ideas...women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances," per ESPN.
Is it any wonder the F1 CEO is on his third wife?
Social Media Isn't That Great
Earlier this year, while discussing falling TV ratings, Ecclestone said, "I think the change that is currently taking place is very short-lived, as these social media people are starting to think it is not as good as they thought," per Jonathan Noble of Autosport.
Publicity from Ayrton Senna's Death Helped F1
At the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix, speaking about Ayrton Senna's death, Ecclestone told the Folha de S. Paulo (thanks to the BBC for a translation) that, "the publicity generated by his death was so much...It was good for F1."
Talk about tone deaf! It is bad enough that Ecclestone was suggesting that the death of a driver was good for F1, but he was in Brazil, Senna's homeland, when he said it.
Criteria for a Female F1 Driver
Once, when he was asked whether he would like to see a female F1 driver, Ecclestone managed to offend not just women, but probably a number of different ethnicities and religions, with just one sentence.
"What I would really like to see happen is to find the right girl, perhaps a black girl with super looks, preferably Jewish or Muslim, who speaks Spanish," he once told Autosport, per ESPN.
Hitler Got Things Done
"In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose," Ecclestone began, "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."
At least Ecclestone got one thing right: It was a terrible thing for him to say.
Follow me on Twitter for updates when I publish a new article and for other (mostly) F1-related news and banter: