Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone's Most Memorable Quotes

Matthew Walthert@@MatthewWalthertFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2014

Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone's Most Memorable Quotes

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Bernie Ecclestone must be celebrating this weekend. The Formula One CEO settled his German court case earlier this week with a $100 million payment. Now he can turn his full attention back to F1.

    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?

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    Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images

    In an interview with The Daily Telegraph (via, 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

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    Richard Branson and Ecclestone.
    Richard Branson and Ecclestone.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    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

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    Ecclestone with his daughters.
    Ecclestone with his daughters.Vladimir Rys/Getty Images

    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

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    SilverstoneHandout/Getty Images

    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

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    Ron Dennis and Ecclestone.
    Ron Dennis and Ecclestone.Daniel Roland/Associated Press

    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

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    Danica Patrick
    Danica PatrickJared C. Tilton/Getty Images

    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

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    Luca Bruno/Associated Press

    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.

    Sure, Twitter has over 270 million active users, and over 800 million people are active on Facebook every day, but that social media stuff is just a fad.

Publicity from Ayrton Senna's Death Helped F1

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    Ayrton Senna
    Ayrton SennaPascal Rondeau/Getty Images

    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

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    This season, Susie Wolff became the first female to drive on a race weekend in 22 years.
    This season, Susie Wolff became the first female to drive on a race weekend in 22 years.Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    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

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    Pool/Getty Images

    In an infamous interview with The Times (paywall protected, h/t Deadspin) in 2009, Ecclestone expressed a backward view of Adolf Hitler. 

    "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.

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